• Jiji


Japan’s opposition leaders are increasingly calling on the government to cancel or put off the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics again.

At a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives on Thursday, Japanese Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii urged Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to cancel the Summer Games and focus its efforts on measures against the novel coronavirus crisis.

“What is the prime minister using as a basis to claim that it is possible to host the Tokyo Games?” Shii said.

He demanded cancellation of the games, citing the World Health Organization chief scientist’s comment that herd immunity cannot be acquired through vaccinations within this year.

“It is becoming difficult to hold the games,” said Yuichiro Tamaki, head of the Democratic Party for the People.

Tamaki told reporters that during the parliamentary session, Suga no longer looked like he was eager to hold the games.

While asking Suga questions in a Lower House plenary session Wednesday, Yukio Edano, chief of the leading opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, expressed hope that the games will be held this summer.

But he quickly added, “As long as the coronavirus spreads, it is irresponsible to keep moving forward based only on wishful thinking.

“We should batten down the hatches,” he stressed.

Also on Wednesday, Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui, a regional party head close to Suga, told reporters that it is impossible to finish coronavirus vaccinations by this summer and that the quadrennial sporting events, which had originally been set for summer 2020, should be moved to 2024.

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