Japan’s PM says plenty of nurses available to work Olympics since “many are taking time off now” – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Japan’s PM says plenty of nurses available to work Olympics since “many are taking time off now”

Written by on May 1, 2021

Not the best time to be moving much-needed healthcare workers.

The controversial 2021 Olympics seems to be happening this summer in Japan, despite the majority of Japanese people thinking they should be cancelled or postponed again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to carry out the Olympics as safely as possible, several measures have already been taken, such as not allowing spectators from outside the country, and recently, the organizers requesting 500 nurses to be on site at the Games.

That request has garnered much anger online, due to it being as seen taking necessary health workers from other locations and putting them to work at an event that shouldn’t even be happening.

However, on April 30 Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reassured people that they would be able to fulfill the 500 requested nurses because: “I’ve heard many are taking time off now. So it should be possible.”

Of course this is a terrible take for many reasons. If nurses are taking time off from work, then there’s a reason for that, either because they’re overworked and need that time off, or because their working conditions are dangerous.

Also, if things are so bad that nurses are taking time off, then perhaps that’s yet another reason to not hold the Olympics in the first place. It’d be like if littering got so bad that garbage men had to take time off… and then that was seen as a good thing because look at all the garbage men with free time to clean up!

▼ Former Prime Minister Yuikio Hatoyama was critical of Suga’s response. (Translation below)

“Prime Minister Suga, you said that it will be possible to dispatch 500 nurses to the Olympics because many are taking time off? Right now, citizens are dying from COVID and dying from the economic slump, barely getting by. Osaka and other places want nurses to come to them. Do we not need nurses at large-scale vaccination centers?”

Japanese netizens voiced similar thoughts online:

“I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Hatoyama for once.”
“They’re taking time off for a reason. Don’t make them work.”
“Why is someone who has never worked as a nurse saying this is possible?”
“Olympics First.”
“This is not what we want.”
“Even if some are taking time off, things are only going to get worse after Golden Week.”
“Nurses who are going back to work should only be going back to their actual work.”

We’ll have to see how this all pans out, but with other helpers leaving the Olympics due to sexist remarks just a few months ago, it’s hard to imagine nurses — especially ones currently forced into the position of taking time off — wanting to participate.

Source: JIJI.COM via My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Wikipedia/内閣官房内閣広報室

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