Should the Tokyo Olympics be cancelled?

Protesters mark NOlympic day in Sydney. Photo: NOlympics Action Sydney

NOlympics Action Sydney gathered outside Sydney Town Hall on June 23, as part of a global day of action calling on the Japanese government not to proceed with the Tokyo Olympics.

Megumi Hoshino of NOlympics Action Sydney said: “It appears that the government and International Olympic Committee are pushing their own interests and profits over the lives of people”.

The statement from the group said more than 80% of Japanese people are against the Olympics because of the looming risk of new COVID-19 variants spreading throughout Tokyo and Japan.

“Japan is facing a serious COVID-19 crisis. With little to no government support, low-income families are struggling to put food on the table, hospitality businesses have been forced to close and unemployment is rising.”

Hoshino said that, as at the end of June, there were 1000 new cases and 100 deaths daily. But since testing is discouraged, the true numbers are thought to be much higher.

NOlympics activist Sakyo Noda said: “The government wants to use the Olympics to deflect criticism and regain popularity before the next election after their mishandling of the COVID crisis and the vaccine roll out.”

Hoshino said that when Tokyo was chosen as a host city in 2013, then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe falsely claimed the nuclear power plant disaster at Fukushima was under control.

“Similarly with COVID-19, the current Prime Minister [Yoshihide Suga] is again ignoring the crisis, putting the lives of Japanese citizens, and anyone who enters Japan, at risk. We urge the international community to call for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics.”