In an editorial on Wednesday, Japan's Asahi Shimbun, the official partner of the Tokyo Olympics, called for the summer games to be canceled, citing public safety risks and tensions in the medical system from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Poll after poll shows that a majority of the public is against holding the Games this summer, worried about the arrival of tens of thousands of athletes and officials in a country that has been largely closed to foreigners since last year. And where the vaccinations were done.
Medical associations protested against the games, investors spoke of the benefits of neglecting them, and uncommitted businessmen such as Masayoshi Son called for the games to be canceled.
The fact that Asahi, one of Japan's most respected newspapers, has split from the ranks with other partners, is likely to intensify the focus on the viability of the games.
"We ask Prime Minister (Yoshihide) Suga to assess the situation calmly and objectively and decide on canceling the event this summer," the left-wing daily newspaper, which often criticizes Suga's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said.
Citing the government's slogan in the games, the newspaper added, "We are far from a situation in which everyone can be confident that they will be" safe and secure. "Unfortunately, this is not the reality. "
Several other major daily newspapers in Japan, such as Nikkei, Mainichi, and Yomiuri, are also official partners of Tokyo 2020.
Asahi's editorial was widely shared on social media, and it got more than 30,000 tweets late in the morning.
Much of Japan, including the host city Tokyo, remains under the third state of emergency that is expected to extend beyond this month, and while Japan is rid of the ravages of the Coronavirus in overseas countries, it is struggling to control the fourth wave. From infections. Across the country.
More than 5% of the country's population received vaccinations and there were around 719,000 infections and 12,394 deaths
A public health professor and advisor to the New Zealand government said Tuesday that going forward with the Games was "absurd".
The United States issued a travel advisory for Japan on Monday, but Japanese officials said it would not affect the Games, and the White House said on Tuesday it was sticking to the decision to hold the Games as planned.
The Australian softball team will arrive in Japan on June 1 to take part in a pre-Olympic training camp in Gunma, about 150 kilometers northwest of Tokyo.
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