Japanese Newspaper Calls for Cancellation of Tokyo Olympics amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Adam WellsMay 26, 2021

The Olympic rings are seen lit outside the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo on May 17, 2021. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

A newspaper in Japan has called for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Asahi Shimbun issued an editorial on Wednesday explaining why the Games should not be held: 

"We cannot think it's rational to host the Olympics in the city this summer. ... Distrust and backlash against the reckless national government, Tokyo government and stakeholders in the Olympics are nothing but escalating. We demand Prime Minister Suga to calmly evaluate the circumstances and decide the cancellation of the summer event."

The editorial from one of the five largest newspapers in the country comes amid growing concerns from Japanese citizens about holding the large-scale event in Tokyo this summer. 

Per Justin McCurry of The Guardian, a survey conducted by Yomiuri Shimbun, another large national newspaper in Japan, from May 7 to 9 showed that 59 percent of people who responded wanted the Games canceled. 

Per Eric Johnston of the Japan Times, several prefectures among the 47 in the country are prepared to ask Japan's central government to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency declaration. 

Tokyo confirmed 542 new coronavirus cases Tuesday amid calls for the state of emergency, which is set to end Monday, to be extended. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States has Japan's COVID-19 danger at its scale's highest level.

"Because of the current situation in Japan, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan," the CDC said.

Despite some calls to cancel the Games, the International Olympic Committee said earlier this month that public opinion won't dictate its decisions. 

"We listen but won't be guided by public opinion," IOC spokesperson Mark Adams told reporters on May 12. "... Everything is telling us that the Games can go ahead and will go ahead."

The Olympics are currently to begin July 23 at Japan National Stadium.