Japanese doctors call for Olympics cancellation as Tokyo struggles to contain covid
A major Japanese physicians group has joined the chorus of voices calling on Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee to cancel the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Games.
The appeal, made in a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that was released this week, comes amid concerns that the health-care system in Asia's second-largest economy cannot accommodate both the potential medical needs of thousands of international athletes, coaches and media while fighting yet another spike in coronavirus infections.
The Japanese capital on Tuesday reported 732 new coronavirus infections and 19 of Japan's 47 prefectures are operating under a state of emergency to combat the pandemic.
"We strongly request that the authorities convince the IOC that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games," said the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association.
Tokyo hospitals "have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity," the association of roughly 6,000 primary care physicians added.
The association is at least the second doctors' group in recent weeks to call for the cancellation of the Olympics. It comes amid signs that Japanese public opinion has turned sharply against hosting the already-delayed Games this summer; one petition calling for the event's cancellation has amassed over 370,000 signatures.
A poll released on Monday by the Asahi Shimbun indicated that just 14% of Japanese residents want the Games, which are set to kick off on July 23, to start as scheduled this summer.
Suga, the prime minister, has insisted that a "safe and secure" Olympics can be carried out. Only a single-digit percentage of the country's seniors were vaccinated with at least one dose as of Sunday, one of the lowest rates in an advanced economy, the Nikkei has reported.