Anti-Olympic protesters outside organising committee headquarters call for cancellation of Tokyo Games

Less than a month left for the 2021 Olympics to begin but a part of the Japanese population is still not convinced that the Games can be held safely in Tokyo. There are protests being held in different parts of the city.

Starting from the major metro stations to famous public spots in Japan, protests were also held in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan building and the headquarters of the organising committee. Protests have amplified especially after two Ugandan nationals tested positive for coronavirus after landing in Japan a few days ago.

From the massive protest near the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to the headquarters of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games heard the same slogans that said ‘No Olympic 2020’, ‘Olympics kill the poor’, ‘Get out IOC’, ‘No Olympics anywhere’. Japanese people are angry that despite the COVID situation the authorities are not prioritising public health. They demand cancellation of the Olympics and the Games should not be held anywhere in the world when the people are suffering so much.

The protesters are worried that with so many people coming in from different parts of the world it will increase the risk of spreading the virus further. In fact, they are scared of some of the most contagious variants that might spread in the country. Moreover, the amount of money that is being allocated to a sporting event when people are suffering around the world can be used for healthcare or Covid-relief funds in the country.

Japanese people are angry that despite the COVID situation the authorities are prioritising the Tokyo Olympics over public health (Photo credit: Paulomi Barman)

”We strongly insist that the Olympics are cancelled. It should have been cancelled much before. It is surprising that we are still protesting for the cancellation of the games. But we still did not give up on saving our lives, livelihood and our society,” a protester told India Today’s Paulomi Barman in Tokyo.

Another protester who has been protesting for the cancellation of the games said, “The government has its priorities all wrong. Instead of helping people make money from the Olympics, they should be protecting the health and safety of the people living in Japan.”

A protester even said that she is surprised that some of the people of Japan are even excited about the Games. She further added, “I think the people of Japan Should be angry considering the whole situation. I feel we need more support from the people. People who are still confused whether to go for the Olympics must consider their health first.”

The other major concern that came out while talking to some of the protesters was that the vaccination drive even though the pace of vaccination is picking up in Japan. But only around 8% of the population has been fully vaccinated as of now.

Protesters shouted slogans like “No Olympics”, “Olympics kill the poor”, “Get out IOC” and “No Olympics anywhere” (Photo credit: Paulomi Barman)

Some of the protesters even said that they wanted to get vaccinated but they were not able to get the vaccines. They are angry that the Games are being prioritised over public health.

Besides all the ongoing protests in Tokyo and other parts of the nation, the #NoOlympic2020 campaign has gone viral on social media too. Tweets and posts have been pouring in solidarity with the people here calling for the cancellation of the Games. Japanese people living in Los Angeles and other parts of the world were also seen protesting against the Games.

The protesters mentioned that they are planning to continue with their protest until the Olympics are cancelled. If they go on with the games as scheduled they might even intensify their protest while the IOC officials arrive in Tokyo or even during the opening ceremony.

On the other hand, organisers believe that the games can be held safely with proper measures and precautions. But People say that the bubble can be broken very easily with so many athletes & officials coming in from other countries. It might even increase the risk of other contagious variants spreading in the country. They are worried that it’s the residents who have to pay the price at the end.

India Today

India Today is a weekly Indian English-language news magazine published by Living Media India Limited. It is the most widely circulated magazine in India, with a readership of close to 8 million. In 2014, India Today launched a new online opinion-orientated site called the DailyO.

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