The world’s oldest person, 118-year-old Kane Tanaka, has decided not to take part in the Tokyo Olympic torch relay over COVID-19 fears, her nursing home said Wednesday. Tanaka was slated to be the star of the relay leg in Fukuoka, which starts Tuesday.
Six torch relay staffers tested positive for the coronavirus last weekend in Kagoshima Prefecture, bringing the total number of infections among relay staff to eight since the event started on March 25.
The Paralympic flame, meanwhile, will not be lit at Tsukui Yamayuri En, a home for people with mental disabilities that was the site of a knife attack in which 19 residents were killed. The city of Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, will scrap the torch relay plan after relatives of some victims expressed opposition.
On the political front, some opposition lawmakers are stepping up calls to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Games amid the surge in COVID-19 cases. There has been speculation that Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike could even pledge not to hold the games as part of a campaign platform for the Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First) party in the July 4 metropolitan assembly election.
Yesterday’s (and last Thursday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (100 or over): Osaka 747 (1,171), Tokyo 591 (1,027), Hokkaido 320 (234), Aichi 290 (430), Hyogo 281 (534), Fukuoka 259 (337), Kanagawa 224 (255), Saitama 179 (256), Kyoto 130 (136), Hiroshima 116 (76), Okayama 114 (99), Chiba 111 (152). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker