Japan's most senior medical adviser said that hosting the Olympics during a pandemic was "not normal" while organizers said thousands of volunteers have quit in advance.

Most Japanese oppose holding the Olympics — due to start on July 23 after postponement from last year — while doctors fear the event would strain a health care system seeing record numbers in critical condition and struggling to vaccinate the nation.

In one of the strongest warnings yet, government medical adviser Shigeru Omi said organizers should explain to the public why they are going ahead.