Japan emperor appears concerned Olympics could spread COVID: official
Written by tokyoclub on June 24, 2021
Japanese Emperor Naruhito is believed to be “concerned” that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics could cause a further increase in coronavirus cases, the head of the Imperial Household Agency said Thursday.
“His majesty is very worried about the current infection situation of the COVID-19 disease,” Yasuhiko Nishimura, grand steward of the agency, said at a press conference.
“I suppose that (the emperor) is concerned that while there are voices of anxiety among the public, the holding (of the games) may lead to the expansion of infections,” Nishimura said.
The remarks came a day after Tokyo marked one month until the start of the Olympics. Unease over the potential health risks of holding the games amid a pandemic remains strong among many people in Japan, despite repeated pledges by the government and other organizers to stage the global sporting extravaganza safely.
A third COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo from late April ended on Sunday. However, there are already signs of a rebound in infections, with the capital on Wednesday reporting 619 new infections — the highest single-day spike in about a month.
A Kyodo News survey, the results of which were released over the weekend, showed that about 86 percent of people in Japan are concerned about the risk of a rebound in COVID-19 cases.
A number of influential infectious disease experts have also warned of a possible resurgence of the virus before or after the Olympics begin on July 23.