— Internet News

Anti-Olympic petition gains tens of thousands of signatures

TOKYO (AP) – An online petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled has gained tens of thousands of signatures since it launched in Japan just days ago.

The rollout of the petition comes with Tokyo, Osaka, and several other areas under a state of emergency with coronavirus infections rising – particularly new variants. The state of emergency is to expire on May 11, but some reports in Japan say it is likely to be extended.

The postponed Olympics will open in under three months on July 23.

The petition is addressed to International Olympic President Thomas Bach, who has tentative plans to visit Japan later this month. He is expected to meet the Olympic torch relay on May 17 in Hiroshima and perhaps travel to Tokyo, where small anti-Olympic protests are planned.

Although 70 to 80% of Japanese citizens in polls say they want the Olympics canceled or postponed, there is no indication this will happen. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Tokyo organizing committee President Seiko Hashimoto, and Bach have repeatedly said the games will be scheduled.

Organizers and the IOC unveiled so-called Playbooks last week, explaining rules for athletes and others to show how the Olympics can be held during a pandemic. Several test events have been conducted in the previous few days, and organizers have reported a few problems.

The Olympic torch relay has been crisscrossing Japan for a month. Organizers say eight people working on the relay tested positive for the virus.

Anti-Olympic petition

The Tokyo Olympics have become a face-saving exercise for Japan, officially spending $15.4 billion to prepare them. Tfor the IOC Organizers say, the Olympics will be “safe and secure,” though local medical specialists challenged him in an editorial last month in the British Medical Journal. It said mass events like the Olympics are “neither safe nor secure.” The Tokyo Olympics are critical for the IOC since 73% of its income comes from selling television rights.

Organizers say they will need 10,000 health workers to support the Olympics. They have also requested 500 additional nurses – a nurses’ federation balked at the request – and 200 sports medicine specialists.

The petition was organized by Kenji Utsunomiya, a lawyer who has run several times for Tokyo governor. It registered about 50,000 signatures in the first 24 hours after being launched.

The headline in English over the petition reads: “Call for the Cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics to protect people’s lives and livelihoods.”

The petition suggests the Olympics cannot be held safely and says the games have drained finances away for other needs, such as the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine. Only 2% of Japanese have been vaccinated. Japan has attributed 10,500 deaths to the virus, good by global standards but not as good as many Asian neighbors.

“To host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in July, we must devote a large number of medical professionals, valuable resources such as medical facilities and medical equipment, and various other resources,” the petition says. Nine prefectural governors said they wanted the games canceled or postponed again in a survey conducted by the nationally circulated Mainichi newspaper. Most of the 47 governors declined to answer, saying they had no decision-making power.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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