Its editorial on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to calmly assess the current circumstances and cancel the Olympics.
The editorial criticized the leaders of the International Olympic Committee for being “self-righteous,” especially vice-president John Coates, who said last week the Tokyo Olympics would be held even if a state of emergency were in force. The newspaper said Coates’s comments were out of step with the Japanese public.
Public sentiment against staging the Olympics has been growing amid a surge of new infections that has overwhelmed hospitals across the country. Tokyo and other regions in Japan are under a state of emergency that expires on May 31, but will likely be extended through June.
The Asahi Shimbun, whose liberal-leaning editorial stance places it opposite those of Prime Minister Suga’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is the first major Japanese newspaper to call for the event’s cancelation, despite being one of its major sponsors. The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, which represents about 6,000 primary care doctors and hospitals, has also called on Suga to convince the International Olympic Committee to cancel the games.
The Shimbun’s editorial comes just two days after the US government issued a warning for its citizens not to travel to Japan because of the new surge of Covid-19 cases.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8 after a one-year postponement as the novel coronavirus pandemic began spreading across the globe.
As of Wednesday, there are 167.8 million confirmed Covid-19 cases around the world, including 3.4 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Center. The US leads both categories with 33.1 million total Covid-19 cases and 590,941 fatalities, with India in second place with just over 27.1 million coronavirus cases and 311,388 deaths.
The World Health Organization said Tuesday the world gained a total of 4.1 million new Covid-19 cases over a one-week period that ended May 23, a decrease of 14 percent, while recording 84,000 new fatalities during that same period, representing a two percent decrease.
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