This past Thursday, Japan has yet again issued another state of emergency due to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases. This will most likely further complicate the Olympic Games that are currently set to take place there in the upcoming weeks.
As stated by The New York Times:
Addressing reporters on Thursday night, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga acknowledged the challenge the country faced as the more contagious Delta variant had begun to circulate. He warned about the danger of the virus spreading beyond Tokyo as people traveled home for the summer holidays.
But at the same time, Mr. Suga pledged to deliver an Olympic Games that would go down in history not as another victim of the pandemic, but as an example of fortitude in the face of adversity.
Viewers will be tuning in from around the world, he said, and “I want to transmit to them a message from Tokyo about overcoming hardship with effort and wisdom.”
This past Thursday, the organizers of this year’s Olympic Games held a gathering for the sole purpose of deciding whether or not to allow in-person spectators to attend the events. “Organizers had already banned international viewers from attending and set a cap on domestic viewers at 50% of capacity, or up to 10,000 people,” reported CNBC.
The newest state of emergency is slated to start this upcoming Monday, July 12th, and stretch all the way out to August 22nd, and the Olympic Games are currently slated to take place from July 23rd and end on August 8th.
The path to coming to the decision to actually go forward with the Olympic games in Japan has been a quite turbulent one as various groups of citizens of the country have reportedly been unhappy with the idea of hosting such a grand event at this time. Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee president, went in person to Tokyo this past Thursday after having to cancel and reschedule a previously planned trip earlier this year due to a previous state of emergency.
On Thursday evening, he spoke at a meeting of the organizers for the Games, stating “that the strict measures taken by Japan to prevent athletes and other participants from spreading the virus ‘have proven to be successful.’”
In taking strides to move forward, he stated “we’ll support any measure which is necessary to have a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games for the Japanese people and all the participants.”