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May 24, 2021 - The IOC is standing firm over the mounting public backlash in Japan against the Olympics, fuelled by the ongoing Covid-19 emergency.
A high ranking Japanese government spokesman has suggested the possibility of extending the country's coronavirus emergency protocols beyond May 31, after the island prefecture of Okinawa was ordered into a state of emergency until June.
Under the new proposal, nine other prefectures, already in a state of emergency with high Covid-19 infections, would follow suit – meaning Tokyo, Hokkaido, Aichi, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Okayama, Hiroshima and Fukuoka would all have their emergency restrictions extended to June 20 as well.
This would push the ending of emergency measures to only 31 days before the Olympic Games are due to begin in Tokyo on July 21.
Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates, who oversees the Games' preparations, insists that the sporting event will go ahead even if there is a state of emergency in Japan.
The IOC's attitude of ‘going for broke’ flies in face of public and business community opinion.
In a recent Reuters survey, 37% of firms want the Games cancelled altogether, with a further 32% in favour of a second postponement.
A recent public opinion poll run by the Asahi Shimbun national newspaper, found 43% of the public want the event cancelled and 40% want it postponed.
Japan is currently in the throngs of a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, with only 4% of its population vaccinated against the killer virus – the lowest rate among the Group of Seven wealthy nations.
- Top Japan government spokesman floats COVID-19 emergency extension (The Japan Times)
- Olympics Games will go ahead even under state of emergency - IOC official (Reuters)
- Most Japan firms say Olympics should be cancelled or postponed, poll shows (Reuters)
- Over 80 percent of Japanese oppose Olympics this summer: poll (France24)