With less than three months to go before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, which has already postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, questions still remain over how Tokyo can host the global event and keep volunteers, athletes, officials, and the Japanese public safe from the virus.
An online petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled has gained tens of thousands of signatures since being launched just a few days ago. More than 200,000 have signed this petition in the past few days, as public concerns mount over conducting the event in a pandemic.
The petition which is addressed to Thomas Bach President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Bach is planning to visit Japan later this month. He is expected to meet the Olympic torch relay on May 17 in Hiroshima, and perhaps also travel to Tokyo where small anti-Olympic are protests being planned.
Organisers are adamant to conduct the event unveiling detailed Covid-19 protocols for athletes and officials. The Japanese government could extend states of emergency in Tokyo the host city and three other areas until the end of May to contain the spread of COVID-19. Opinion polls in Japan have found that the majority of the people are opposed to the idea of conducting the event, which is set to take place from July 23.
According to some economists, a year-long delay in Tokyo Olympics has led to financial losses worth $5.42 billion to $6.32 billion. The impact would apply both to the nations, which have invested heavily in making the Olympics a national showcase, and companies that have poured an estimated $3 billion into sponsorships. If the event is postponed again Japan will have to face further losses. As of now, athletes have started preparing for the tournament. India’s shooting contingent left for Croatia this week to start preparations for the main event. A definite decision on the tournament may arrive by the end of May.