A Tokyo park that was set to host a public viewing event for the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer will be used as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Tuesday.
The public viewing event for the Olympics at Yoyogi Park will be canceled, metropolitan government officials said. Whether the park will be used to host a public viewing event for the Paralympics will be decided later.
“We’re planning to convert the Yoyogi live event site into a vaccination venue,” Koike said, adding that the venue will be used to give second vaccine shots from July and beyond.
Koike announced the Yoyogi Park vaccination plan in a policy speech at a regular session of the metropolitan assembly.
Meanwhile, the metropolitan government will begin mass coronavirus vaccinations from June 8 at a venue established on the site where the Tsukiji wholesale food market used to stand.
The venue will be used to inoculate 60,000 members of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Tokyo Fire Department, but will close at the end of the month as it will later be used as a base for transportation vehicles during the Tokyo Games.
The Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled to kick off July 23, have come under fire from critics who have questioned officials’ unwavering approach to holding the games after they were postponed for one year.
A spate of public opinion polls have shown that the majority of the public is opposed to holding the games this summer, amid concerns about a lingering fourth wave of the virus and over the tens of thousands of athletes and officials that would descend on a country where vaccinations have proceeded slowly.
“We know some people are concerned about holding (the sporting event) based mainly on the current infection situation,” Koike said.
“We’ll enhance the effectiveness of measures against infections and make full efforts to ensure safe and secure games,” she added.
The metropolitan government planned to hold public viewing events at 12 locations in and outside Tokyo, including Yoyogi Park, but the plan drew criticism over fears the events could help spread infections.
The metropolitan government also faced flak because some trees in Yoyogi Park were pruned to set up the public viewing venue.
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