Japan is resisting calls to cancel the Olympics, having already gone over budget by billions.

Japan is resisting calls to cancel the Olympics, having already gone over budget by billions.
The last Olympic torch relay runner for the Osaka leg concludes the event in Suita, north of Osaka, western Japan, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
(Hiro Komae / AP)
A petition calling for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics which garnered 350,000 signatures in nine days has been submitted to organisers, reflecting growing public opposition to the event as a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections sweeps Japan.
READ MORE: IOC: Tokyo Olympics will go ahead despite opposition concern
“Stop Tokyo Olympics” campaign organiser Kenji Utsunomiya
said the global festival of sport – already postponed from 2020
due to the coronavirus pandemic – should take place only when
Japan can welcome visitors and athletes wholeheartedly.
“We are not in that situation and therefore the Games should
be cancelled,” he told a news conference. “Precious medical
resources would need to be diverted to the Olympics if it’s
The petition was submitted to the Olympic and Paralympic
committee chiefs as well as Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.
READ MORE: Spectators to miss Tokyo Olympics torch relay
It came as Japan added three more areas to a state of
emergency now covering Tokyo, Osaka and four other prefectures
amid surging case numbers, less than three months out from the
scheduled July 23 start of the Games.
Asked about the anti-Games campaign, Tokyo Governor Koike
said she would continue to work towards a “safe and secure”
“Though there is a global pandemic, it is important to hold
safe and secure Tokyo 2020 Games,” she told a regular press
The new areas under the state of emergency include Hokkaido
prefecture where the Olympic marathon will take place, after the
prefecture reported a record high of 712 new coronavirus cases
on Thursday.
Opposition to the Games has also come from doctors, while
some high-profile Japanese athletes have expressed concern,
including Masters golf champion Hideki Matsuyama and top women’s
tennis player Naomi Osaka.
READ MORE: It’s 2021 and athletes will be punished for taking a knee at the Olympics
Japanese business leader Masayoshi Son, chief of SoftBank
Group Corp, added his voice to the chorus of
trepidation on Thursday, saying in unusually blunt remarks that
he was “afraid” of what might happen if the Games went ahead on
Dozens of towns that had been due to host visiting athletes
at pre-Games events have cancelled those plans, saying they
could not guarantee medical help amid strains on the hospital
With the latest emergency measures, 19 out of Japan’s 47
prefectures fall under restrictions that include closures of
eateries by 8 pm and a ban on alcohol at bars and restaurants.
Nationwide, Japan has seen about 656,000 confirmed
coronavirus cases so far, with 11,161 deaths.
READ MORE:Covid-19 disrupts Tokyo Games qualification events