The recommendation of the United States not to travel to Japan due to the virus situation today casts new doubts about the celebration of the Tokyo Olympics, less than two months before an event that the majority of Japanese oppose.
With its decision to discourage travel to Japan and to raise the alert level for this country to the maximum, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US State Department have given more arguments to supporters of canceling the Games.
The Japanese Executive, in the midst of a crisis of credibility and popular support, has been quick to downplay the American message by stating that it will have no impact on the sporting event, which is scheduled to open on July 23.
“Due to the current situation (of the pandemic) in Japan, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk of contracting and spreading variants of covid-19 and should avoid all travel to Japan,” US authorities said yesterday.
This evaluation is based on the current wave of infections that affects the Asian country, where daily records of severe covid-19 patients are being given, and highlights their difficulties to control the pandemic and to advance in the vaccination of its population.
Despite the recommendation, “there are no changes on the position of the US Government, which supports the decision to hold the Tokyo Games,” said Japanese Executive Minister Katsunobu Kato at a press conference, adding that it “has no relation to the sending of the (US) Olympic delegation to the Games”.
The Japanese minister in charge of the Olympic Games, Tamayo Marukawa, said in the same vein that the US decision “will have no effect on the participation of its athletes” in the event, and reiterated that Tokyo “remains committed to the organization of some JJ. OO. insurance ».
It should be noted that even with the rebound in the virus that Japan has suffered since the end of last March, the data of infections and deaths in the Asian country are still much lower than those of many other countries, including the United States.
In the last week, the Japanese authorities have recorded 33,795 infections and 764 deaths, compared to 173,734 cases and 3,989 deaths in the United States.
TO THE TAIL IN VACCINATION
Japan, on the other hand, lags far behind the North American country, the European Union (EU) and other developed countries in terms of its vaccination rate, with approximately 5% of its total population inoculated with at least one dose.
This delay, together with the succession of timorous measures taken by the Japanese Government against the pandemic, has undermined the confidence of the Japanese in their authorities and spurred the popular rejection against the celebration of the Games this summer, which according to the polls stands at around 80%.
Both the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have for now turned a deaf ear to the protests of citizens, groups of health professionals or Japanese regional governments, and are continuing with their plan to hold the Games in “bubble” format in the midst of a pandemic.
It remains to be seen if the recommendation of the United States can serve as external pressure against the Tokyo Games, and if both the central and regional governments of the capital maintain their firm commitment in favor of the event and risk suffering electoral consequences in the elections. that they will face in the coming months.
MORE VACCINES AND MORE STATE OF EMERGENCY
The Japanese authorities have tried to speed up vaccination with the opening last Monday of mass inoculation centers in Tokyo and Osaka, to which similar facilities will be added to achieve the goal of immunizing the entire population over 65 years of age for the dates when the Olympic Games will begin.
The government declared a health emergency in Tokyo and other regions for the third time at the end of April, an exceptional measure that was later extended to more areas of the country and extended until the end of May.
Everything indicates that the Executive will extend the emergency again in the coming days, which will entail maintaining the anti-contagion restrictions.
Japan has also maintained strict border limitations for months due to the pandemic, which has also led to banning the entry of foreign visitors during the Games.