A Japanese online petition calling for the cancellation of this summer's Tokyo Olympics had received over 200,000 signatures at a record pace as of Friday, just two days after its launch, as public fears over the coronavirus pandemic grow with the rapid spread of highly contagious variants.

The petition addressed to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and other representatives of organizers, said the games should not be held to protect people's lives amid the global health crisis.

"With the circumstances that we are under, it is certainly unlikely that the Tokyo Olympics could be held safely," said the English version of the Change.org petition launched Wednesday at noon by lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya, who has run multiple times for the Tokyo governorship.