Japan Covid-19 and Olympics: Koike and Suga with eyes closed
Kanako Mita and Chika Mori
Modern Tokyo Times
The Tokyo Olympics is less than 100 hundred days away. Yet, despite the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis being worse in 2021 in Japan than when the Olympics were postponed last year, it appears that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike have their eyes closed.
Various polls in Japan by NHK and others highlight that most people want the games either canceled or postponed to a later date. Despite this, and deaths and infections mounting in the last six months, Suga and Koike are focused on the economic and prestigious angle rather than the feelings of the majority of people in Japan.
Indeed, with three million international coronavirus deaths being surpassed along with new variants creating fresh mayhem, it highlights the shallowness of Suga, Koike, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). After all, new variant coronavirus strains are now infecting increasing numbers in Osaka and other parts of Kansai, including Hyogo prefecture.
Osaka reached over 1,200 daily infections for the first time in recent days. Hyogo also reached a new high of 541 daily coronavirus infections. Likewise, fresh highs were reported in other parts of Japan including Ishikawa and Niigata. Meanwhile, daily infections are reaching new monthly highs in Tokyo and other parts of the country including Aichi, Hokkaido, Kanagawa, and Okinawa are worried. Therefore, a sense of deja vu is setting in.
Suga and Koike both know that new variants are behind the recent upturn in daily infections. They also know that 10,000 deaths will be reached in the next two weeks in Japan. Hence, it is ironic that the Olympics and Paralympics were postponed last year despite relatively few deaths in the first three months in Japan. However, this time, it seems that little matters to Suga and Koike apart from holding the Olympics at all costs.
Therefore, despite the Olympics not being wanted on the whole internally this year – and the threat of new variants entering Japan because of the Olympics – Suga and Koike are continuing to close their eyes to the reality on the ground.
https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/en/ – Tokyo Metropolitan Government website for updates about the coronavirus crisis in Tokyo.
https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html – Japan and Tokyo Covid-19 news with more analysis
https://covid19japan.com/ – Japan regional coronavirus statistics
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ World coronavirus statistics
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