Around 10,000 of 80,000 volunteers slated to help organisers during the Tokyo Olympics have quit amid the COVID-19 pandemic with just 50 days to go for the games. There has been strong opposition for Olympics going ahead from citizens in Japan due to an increase in covid cases. Toshiro Muto, CEO of organising committee, told Kyodo News that volunteers have opted out due to coronavirus.
“I think there is no doubt that one of the reasons is concern over coronavirus infections.”
The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23-August 8 this year after getting postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19. Muto said few volunteers might have left due to the rescheduling of the games, which were slated to be played in 2020. In February this year, former head of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organising committee Yoshiro Mori resigned over his remarks about women talking too much, which were branded “sexist” at home and abroad. As per Kyodo News, almost 1000 volunteers also dropped out after Mori’s remarks which were globally condemned.
Last month, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach confirmed that the organising committee of Tokyo 2020 will be able to stage a safe and secure showpiece event for the athletes. He added that as many as 75 percent of the Olympic Village residents are already vaccinated or have secured vaccination. Bach insisted that there is a good reason to believe that this figure will be well over 80 percent at the time of the Games.
The Japanese government and the organisers are under heavy criticism for hosting the event in such circumstances. 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 task of keeping COVID away will be a huge challenge for the organizers. Meanwhile, organisers and the Japanese government will record enormous losses worth billions if the event doesn’t go ahead.