Azusa Iwashimizu (foreground right), a member of the Japanese women's football team, passes the Olympic torch to a high school student on March 25, 2021 in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture.

Until now, the option of a cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics has been ruled out by Japanese officials. This is no longer the case. Faced with a fourth wave of contaminations, the government is considering a new state of emergency in the capital, in Osaka and in the department of Hyogo. “If the pandemic continues to worsen, it is no longer appropriate to organize the Olympics”, worried on April 20 Kotaro Nagasaki, governor of Yamanashi, southwest of Tokyo.

The organizers postponed the decision to host spectators during the events until June. They are constantly changing the schedule of events until the opening ceremony on July 23. And, despite strict precautionary measures, one participant in the Olympic Torch Relay tested positive.

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At the highest level, unanimity is no longer. “If there is no other solution, we will have to cancel the Tokyo Games without hesitation”, Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (PLD), said on April 15 on television.

“One option, nothing more”, delayed the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, while the PLD recalled that its position on the holding of the Olympics had not changed. Mr. Nikai’s statement nonetheless reflects the doubts that point to the majority.

“Irresponsible and immoral”

When Japan obtained the Olympic Games in 2013, they were presented as the symbol of a rebirth: a page would turn on the disasters (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster) of March 11, 2011. Less than a hundred days before their opening, in the midst of the pandemic, enthusiasm turned to skepticism and then to the open opposition of the majority of Japanese to this event. An opposition that the government does not want to hear to the point that the national television channel NHK sees fit to cut the background sound of the retransmission of the Olympic torch relay through the 47 prefectures of the archipelago as soon as cries of protest resound. against the Olympics.

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Since April 12, more and more Japanese cities have taken new restrictive measures due to the deteriorating health situation, pushing hospitals to their limits. Incomparable with the number of contaminations and deaths in the United States and Europe, cases are increasing worryingly in Osaka and Tokyo – who are calling for a new state of emergency from the government – and the extent of the contamination remains poorly known due to limited screening.

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