Thousands demand Tokyo Olympics cancelled as state of emergency extended

A campaign to cancel the Tokyo Olympics is gaining pace – as polls say 80% of Japanese people want the games to be called off.
Around 200,000 people in Japan have signed an online petition demanding the event – postponed from last year and now due to open in less than 12 weeks on 23 July – is scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as a state of emergency in Tokyo and major cities including Osaka and Kyoto is likely to be extended until the end of the month, despite being due to expire on 11 May.
Just 2.2% of the Japanese population has been vaccinated despite tens of millions doses of unused COVID-19 vaccines piling up.
Health chiefs imported 28m doses of the Pfizer vaccine in late April – but 24m remain sitting in freezers.


Image: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games protesters hold a rally in front of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building
The petition, launched only days ago, is entitled: “Cancel the Tokyo Olympics to save lives”.

It claims the games cannot be held safely – and argues the event has drained financial resources which could have been used to combat coronavirus.

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The petition is addressed to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, who is due to meet the Olympic torch relay in 10 days in Hiroshima, before possibly travelling to Tokyo.
The Olympic torch relay has been criss-crossing Japan for a month – with eight people working on the relay testing positive for coronavirus, organisers say.

Image: Tokyo Olympics mascot Miraitowa poses with the Games’s rings after they are unveiled at a ceremony in Japan
But although up to 80% of people said they want the games to be cancelled or postponed, officials including Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the Tokyo organising committee president, Seiko Hashimoto, have repeatedly insisted the event will go ahead.
Organisers and the IOC unveiled so-called playbooks last week, explaining rules for athletes and others to show how the games can be held in the middle of a pandemic.
Several test events have been conducted in the last few days, and organisers have reported few problems.
The petition was launched by lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya – who has run several times for Tokyo governor.
“Government policies are being set with the Olympics in mind, and measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic are being neglected,” Mr Utsunomiya said.
“Hospitals are stretched thin, and some people are dying at home.”
Japan says the virus has claimed the lives of 10,500 people across the country.

Source : Sky News