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Tokyo 2020

Why do the people of Japan want the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled?

A recently concluded opinion survey found out that a whopping 60% of the Japanese population is against the Olympics being conducted in the country under prevailing circumstances.

Why do the people of Japan want the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled? (Source: RTE)
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Why do the people of Japan want the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled? (Source: RTE)

By

Abhijit Nair

Published: 10 May 2021 1:01 PM GMT

The voices demanding the cancellation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is increasing stronger with each passing day in Japan. The already delayed Tokyo Olympics is currently facing some sharp opposition from various quarters due to various different reasons.

The opposition has increased to such an extent that the Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, who had until recently maintained that the Games would go ahead at any cost today stated that he has 'never put Olympics first' and that it was up to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to decide the fate of the Olympics.

A recently concluded opinion survey found out that a whopping 60% of the Japanese population is against the Olympics being conducted in the country under prevailing circumstances.

But, is the Olympics not supposed to be the first step towards healing? Or the 'proof of human victory over coronavirus', as stated by the PM Suga himself.

Then why is the Tokyo Olympics facing such a staunch resistance, wherein the Japanese citizens are out on the streets protesting against the Games?

Covid-19

Quite evidently the biggest reason behind the demands for the cancellation of the Olympics, the covid-19 is still spreading like a wildfire in some corners of the world including Japan. The host city of Tokyo alone registered more than 1000 cases of the virus yesterday, while the entire country witnessed more than 6500 new infections.

Even though the Japanese government has banned the entry of foreign fans to the country for the Olympics, the citizens of Japan fear that the congregation of thousands of athletes in the city of Tokyo might lead to an unprecedented spread of the deadly coronavirus in the country.

Crumbling health infrastructure

The Japanese health infrastructure is under massive pressure even during the present times. On top of it, the vaccine roll-out program of the country has been one of the slowest in the whole world, with only 1% of the entire population vaccinated as of 20th April 2021.

The health workers in Japan are already overworked since the pandemic broke out last year. So, when the Tokyo Olympics organisers requested for at least 10,000 medical workers at the site where the Games are to be held, that too at a time when quite a few areas in the country are under a state of health emergency, people were left stunned.

They fear that if the Olympics go ahead as planned, the health infrastructure of the country will not only crumble with a spike in the covid-19 infections but most of the health resources would go towards the Olympics, leaving them in a spot of bother.

The Fukushima Nuclear Radiation

Much before the coronavirus pandemic broke out last year; there were already calls to cancel the Tokyo Olympics due to the Fukushima Nuclear Radiation.

Now, what is the Fukushima Nuclear Radiation?

Japan was hit with a terrible earthquake and tsunami in the year 2011 which led to a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. This meltdown released 1.5x1016 becquerels of cesium 37 which is 168 times more than the dangerous chemical released during the Hiroshima bombings.

According to people, the Japanese government fails to recognise this area as a 'radiation control zone', despite the 'Nuclear Emergency Situation' which is still in effect in the country, even after almost 10 years following the incident.

The Japanese government under then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had won the rights to host the Olympics in Tokyo just two years after this incident in 2013. The people opposing the Olympics believe that hosting the Tokyo Games is just a distraction tactic used by the Japanese government to divert the attention of the world from the real issue at Fukushima nuclear plant which still continues to radiate harmful chemicals.

Besides the city of Fukushima is also expected to hold baseball and softball events during the Tokyo Olympics to further reiterate the government's claim of everything being fine, and hence people want the Games to be cancelled.


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