The People Have Spoken, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Should Not Take Place

Two polls found 80 percent of people in Japan have concerns or doubts about the games, but the IOC has appeared keen to push forward.

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According to Associated Press, two telephone surveys found that over 80 percent of people in Japan feel the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games should be or will be called off or delayed, or say they think the games won’t happen.

The polls were conducted by Kyodo, a Japanese news agency, and Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) and both recorded an increase in doubts about the games’ status. Kyodo’s poll found a 81 percent of respondents thought the games should be cancelled or postponed, compared to 63 percent in December; 81% of TBS respondents said “NO” in answer to whether the Olympics can be held, marking an 18 percentage point increase compared to a similar December poll.

These findings emerge as Japan contends with a rise of COVID-19 cases which caused Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to call a state of national emergency. But the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has appeared dead-set on making the Olympics happen regardless of the pandemic.

IOC vice president John Coates garnered criticism for stating the Olympics will begin “with or without COVID” on July 23 in a September interview with Agence French Presse. “These will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel,” he continued.

In Japan, Coates’ cavalier treatment of the risk caused a stir on Twitter, and legitimately so. The Olympics will make Tokyo an international destination for an estimated 15,000 athletes and tens of thousands of coaches, team staff, media and perhaps even fans. Even with rigorous prevention measures, the potential for an outbreak looks significant.

And in light of these concerns, almost 810,000 tickets for the games have been cancelled in an effort to limit crowd density.

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