With less than 100 days to go until the Tokyo Olympics, public opposition shows no signs of softening. According to the latest Kyodo poll, 59.7% of people in Japan believe the games this summer should be canceled.
And resistance is not confined to this archipelago. Change.org has said that an anti-Olympic campaign launched May 5 is the fastest-growing petition ever on its Japanese website, with over 367,000 signatures as of writing from more than 130 countries.
On Friday, armed with the petition, the lawyer who launched the campaign urged Tokyo to ditch the games and save lives.
Yet the message from the IOC, local organizers and the Japanese government has been consistent — it’s full speed ahead. Their stance might appear incomprehensible to those still struggling with the pandemic, but from one crucial area there has been a noticeable lack of dissent, notes Reuters: athletes themselves.
World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe stressed Friday that COVID-19 vaccines are the game-changer this year, giving athletes greater access to training and competitions and forestalling a second postponement.
Australia and Brazil began inoculating their athletes last week, and Japan is gearing up to offer jabs to its 2,500 Olympians, Paralympians and support staff shortly — using donated shots amid public anger over the slow pace of Japan’s vaccine rollout.