A petition titled ‘Cancel the Tokyo Olympics to protect our lives’ has almost garnered 300,000 signatures as Tokyo citizens urge the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Games or cancel it outrightly.
The IOC rescheduled the 2020 Games for 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are fears that the Games could become a super spreader event, especially with the variant found in India.
The petition was launched by a Tokyo-based lawyer, Kenji Utsunomiya, on Tuesday, May 5 and as of Saturday, May 8 [10:30 am] had garnered 274,762 signatures. According to the AP, “The petition is addressed to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who has tentative plans 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.”
Meanwhile, there is a state of emergency in place until May 11, with stores, parks, theatres, museums, and bars closed. There are indications they could move this date forward because of the evidence of additional strains of the virus, even though the Olympic Torch relay is ongoing with less than 80 days to the beginning of the Games.
The AP reporting adds: “In a survey conducted by the nationally circulated Mainichi newspaper, nine prefectural governors said they wanted the games cancelled or postponed again. Most of the 47 governors declined to answer, saying they had no decision-making power.”
This is despite the largesse of COVID-19 vaccines to be provided by Pfizer and BioNTech for all athletes coming for the Games.