Aspiring governor of Tokyo, Taro Yamamoto, says the 2021 Olympics should be called off.
The Games in Tokyo is expected to start July 23, 2021, almost exactly a year later than originally Scheduled.
The new date for the Games, postponed for a year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, gives athletes time to recalibrate their training schedules.
However, Yamamoto, who is a popular actor-turned-politician, has said in a debate this week that the Olympics should be canceled and the billions redirected to help people struggling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Olympics should be canceled,” Yamamoto told Koike. “There is no guarantee to hold the Games safely in Tokyo, and we don’t have a vaccine” for COVID-19.
With over 10,000 Olympic athletes, 4,400 Paralympians, and thousands more staff, technical officials, broadcasters, journalists and fans expected to troop to grace the Olympic Games, Yamamoto believes there could be a hike in the coronavirus pandemic since there is no curing medicine.
“Tokyo will turn into a Petri dish by having so many people coming from around the world,” Yamamoto said. “We should notify the International Olympic Committee that Tokyo cannot hold the event safely.”
Another candidate, well-respected lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya, also endorses supports calling off the Olympics based on the judgment of infectious disease experts. Two other candidates have proposed a two- to four-year postponement.
According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), there have been 17,039 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Japan and 917 deaths.
Public awareness campaigns on social distancing have worked.
Meanwhile, Tokyo has weathered the virus well, recording 5,347 confirmed cases and 307 deaths.
Estimates in Japan suggest the one-year delay will cost $2 billion to $6 billion, most of which will fall to Japanese taxpayers.
According to reports, the Tokyo Olympic games is the most heavily sponsored sports event in history — a fundraising effort led by the advertising giant Dentsu that pulled heavily on companies’ sense of patriotic duty and collectively extracted more than $1bn from just 15 “gold” Japanese supporters.