Japanese doctors call for the Olympics to be canceled due to COVID-19 surge

Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images
(Image credit: Tokyo Olympics protester)

A group of Japanese doctors is backing demands to cancel the Olympics.

The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association in a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics to be called off due to the country's COVID-19 surge, The Washington Post and Reuters report.

"We strongly request that the authorities convince the [International Olympic Committee] that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games," the group said.

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These doctors are hardly alone in this request. A recent poll showed that a majority of people in Japan are opposed to holding the Tokyo Olympics in July, with only 14 percent wanting them to go forward this summer, and protesters in Tokyo have been demonstrating against plans for the games. COVID-19 cases have been up in Japan, and just about 3.5 percent of its population has been vaccinated, according to Reuters.

The Tokyo doctors warn in their letter that "the medical institutions dealing with COVID-19 have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity" and that if holding the Olympics contributes to more deaths, "Japan will bear the maximum responsibility," per Reuters. This was at least the second doctor's group to call for the Olympics to be canceled, the Post notes.

Suga, though, has said the Olympics, which won't have any foreign spectators, will be able to be carried out in a "safe and secure" fashion, and the International Olympic Committee says it's "moving fully ahead." After being delayed a year due to COVID-19, the games are scheduled to begin on July 23.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.