Japan on Wednesday vowed to go ahead with Tokyo Olympics amid opposition that the world’s biggest games should be delayed due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to send out from Japan a message that the world has confronted the difficulties brought on by the novel coronavirus and overcome them by uniting,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told parliament.
Suga said his government will further reduce the number of Olympic officials, workers and press members coming in to Japan for the tournament from foreign countries, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported.
Initially planned to be held in 2020 summer, Tokyo Olympics has been delayed by a year due to the raging pandemic which forced governments to close borders to stem the spread of infections.
Enforcing stricter measures to avoid spread of the infection due to the Tokyo Olympics when it starts this July, the organizers barred international visitors from attending the games in Japan.
Rigorous health measures are in place for participants throughout the games to avoid getting in contact with the infection while global positioning system will be utilized to monitor movement of participants to nab pandemic protocol breakers.
Japan had earlier planned to allow 180,000 visitors but that number was halved.
“Protecting the lives and safety of the people is my responsibility,” said Suga, who leads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
However, Yukio Edano, the leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan replied to Suga in parliament: “You cannot make up for lives once they are lost. Politics cannot take responsibility for lost lives, and the prime minister is not sufficiently aware of it.”
Suga also vowed to vaccinate all of Japan’s citizens by November. The country has reported 765,619 coronavirus cases, including 13,743 deaths, so far.