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IOC Says Tokyo Olympics Won't Be Canceled by Public Opinion amid COVID-19

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 12, 2021

Athletes compete in the men's 400-meter T20 race during an athletics test event for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games at National Stadium in Tokyo, Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Shuji Kajiyama/Associated Press

The International Olympic Committee won't let public opinion get in the way of the organization's decision to hold the Olympics in Tokyo this summer.

At a press conference on Wednesday, IOC spokesman Mark Adams addressed growing public sentiment to cancel the Games because of COVID-19 concerns in Japan. 

"We listen but won't be guided by public opinion, everything is telling us that the games can go ahead and will go ahead," Adams said.

Japan's central government declared the country's third state of emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic in April. The restrictions imposed limits on certain businesses in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo

The declaration was initially supposed to end on Wednesday, but the government extended the restrictions through May 31. Japan had more than 7,000 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday for the first time since January. 

Kyodo news agency (h/t National Herald India) found that 27.8 percent of 12,857 people surveyed in Japan want the Games canceled. Another 25.8 percent of those responding said they would like them to be postponed again. 

Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, told Rhyannon Bartlett-Imadegara of Nikkei Asia in February that a second postponement isn't possible. If the Summer Olympics can't be held this year, they will be canceled because 2022 already has the Winter Olympics and the men's World Cup. 

IOC president Thomas Bach canceled a trip to Japan scheduled for next week because of the rising number of coronavirus cases. 

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Tom Schad of USA Today noted less than three percent of Japan's population has been fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. 

Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced they would be donating vaccines to all Olympic athletes and their delegations to ensure they are fully inoculated before the Games start. 

The 2020 Games are scheduled to run from July 23-Aug. 8 at various locations in and around Tokyo. 

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