'We don't have vaccine yet' - Calls to cancel Olympics in race for Tokyo governor

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Jun 18, 2020, 09:03 PM(IST)

File Photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The cost to postpone the Games is in billions and the debate garnered public attention after Taro Yamamoto, a popular actor turned politician, after the opening of the election campaign, said that the Tokyo Olympics should be cancelled as there is still major uncertainty over the vaccine while suggesting the funds saved from the postponement should be redirected to help people struggling from economic disaster. 

The race for the governor of Tokyo has picked up the pace with the Olympics coming into the debate. The cost to postpone the Games is in billions and the debate garnered public attention after Taro Yamamoto, a popular actor turned politician, after the opening of the election campaign, said that the Tokyo Olympics should be cancelled as there is still major uncertainty over the vaccine while suggesting the funds saved from the postponement should be redirected to help people struggling from economic disaster. 

Incumbent Yuriko Koike is a strong favourite to be reelected and has a strong stance in support of the Games. However, Yamamoto is of the view that the Games should be cancelled as they don’t have a vaccine yet. 

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"The Olympics should be canceled"

“The Olympics should be canceled," Yamamoto told Koike. “There is no guarantee to hold the games safely in Tokyo, and we don’t have a vaccine yet" for COVID-19.

Yamamoto has alarmed the organisers about brining 11,000 Olympic athletes from around 200 nations and territories, 4,400 Paralympians and thousands more staff, technical officials, broadcasters and media personnel. Fans could bring in more headache for the organisers. Up to 80,000 volunteers were expected to join in before the pandemic hit. 

"Tokyo will turn into a Petri dish by having so many people coming from around the world,” Yamamoto said. “We should notify the International Olympic Committee that Tokyo cannot hold the event safely.”

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Increase in bills is a massive issue. Estimates say one-year postponement will cost $2 billion to $6 billion.

Tokyo said it is spending $12.6 billion to organise the Games. Around $5.6 billion is public money. Tokyo had estimated that the cost to organise Games would be $7.3 billion in 2013. 

"While many children and athletes are earnestly looking forward to the Olympics, we must keep the coronavirus under control, and the question is if a vaccine will be ready by then. It’s a race against time.” Koike said.

“There are many issues to be resolved,” Koike said. “But when we have a major global goal and share it, and when it becomes a proof of victory in our fight against the coronavirus, what a meaningful event it will be.” 
 

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