We call for immediate cancellation of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to give people’s lives and livelihoods the highest priority
In the following statement he published on May 14, Jichiroren Secretary General Toshiaki Ishikawa demanded that the Tokyo Olympic Games be cancelled and that the national and Tokyo governments make every possible effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections.
As the coronavirus infections continue to spread and are becoming more serious, the government has declared the nation’s third state of emergency. On May 12, it expanded the target areas and extended the period of the emergency rule. However, the number of cases has not been subsided.
In major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, medical fields have fallen into a serious situation with the shortage of hospital beds and nurses. Many infected people cannot be admitted to a hospital and have to wait in an ambulance for hours until they find a place to be transported. In Osaka alone, more than 14,000 patients have to stay at home, and the number of people dying at their residences is increasing.
During the last year, many people lost their job, and the number of suicides increased. There is no end to closures of small- and medium-sized businesses. People’s livelihoods have been taken away.
The Suga administration bears a grave responsibility for failing to face up to the current situation and neglecting to take drastic measures while insisting on hosting the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. In order to protect people’s lives, the government should abandon the plan to host the Games and prioritize infection control measures.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games should be a “festival of peace” where people come together from all over the world to nurture friendship and solidarity across national borders through sports, and where life is given the highest priority. A prerequisite for holding the event is that the Covid-19 pandemic becomes under control worldwide.
Japan’s vaccination rate is the lowest among OECD member countries. There is no solid foundation for realizing the “safe and secure Olympics” that Prime Minister Suga refers to.
The national government, which lacks serious intention of protecting the people, as well as Tokyo Governor Koike, who has forced self-restraint policies on Tokyoites without taking proactive measures, are no longer qualified to host a “festival of peace”.
Municipalities in Tokyo and other parts of Japan are working hard to protect residents from the coronavirus under serious situations. In addition to public health centers and hospitals, they are also responsible for vaccination of residents. Some local authorities are sending their employees to the Tokyo Organizing Committee to work on host town programs, torch relays, and other related tasks.
However, the “festival of peace” has now become the “festival of anxiety”. Prime Minister Suga and Tokyo Governor Koike are trampling on the efforts of municipal workers.
Life must be prioritized. Jichiroren demands that the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games be cancelled immediately, and that national and local governments make concentrated efforts to contain virus infections and strengthen their personnel and readiness to focus on tasks of protecting the lives and livelihoods of people. We will do our utmost to establish safe medical and public health systems available for everyone by increasing doctors, nurses, and public health nurses.