Olympia 2021: The Japanese Emperor is “extremely concerned” about the country hosting the Games as COVID-19 cases rise
Japanese Emperor Naruhito is “extremely concerned” about the Tokyo Olympics and the possible spread of COVID-19 it could cause. Imperial Budget Authority Grand Administrator Yasuhiko Nishimura revealed the emperor’s fears during a press conference Thursday that the opening ceremonies are now less than a month away.
“His Majesty is extremely concerned about the current situation of COVID-19 infections”, Nishimura said, according to the Associated Press. “While there have been voices of unease among the general public, I (the Emperor) are concerned that holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games … could lead to the spread of infections.”
With the Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 23, thousands of athletes, officials and journalists from around the world will travel to Japan. The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga recently lifted the state of emergency in Tokyo that had been in place since the end of April.
However, health officials have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases since the state of emergency was lifted, and fear the number of cases could rise in the weeks leading up to the Olympics.
Nishimura added that he wanted the Olympic organizers “to take all possible anti-virus measures to avoid the spread of infections in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, where the emperor serves the patron saint”. It is worth noting, however, that Naruhito certainly has influence but does not have the power to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Olympics. Suga – who has that power – has maintained his stance that the Olympics must continue despite pressure from health officials and the public to postpone the Summer Games.