Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper on Wednesday called for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled and the games to be open in less than two months.
It is the first major Japanese newspaper to make the move, joining some regional newspapers that have recently added to growing opposition to the Olympic Games.
Going against the Olympics can be significant, as the newspaper, like many others in Japan, is sponsoring the postponed Olympics, which are due to open on July 23.
“We cannot think that it is rational to host the Olympic Games in the city this summer,” the newspaper said in its editorial, which read: “We demand the reversal of Prime Minister Suga’s decision.”
“The mistrust and reaction against the reckless national government, the government in Tokyo and the stakeholders in the Olympic Games are nothing but escalation,” the editorial added. “We demand that Prime Minister Suga calmly assess the circumstances and decide to cancel the summer event.”
Despite the editorial, there are no indications that the International Olympic Committee or local organizers plan to withdraw the game.
On Tuesday, the Japanese government said a US warning to avoid traveling to Japan would not affect the conduct of the Olympics.
Japan has officially spent $ 15.4 billion to host the Olympics, and the IOC receives billions from the sale of broadcasting rights, which account for about 75 percent of its revenue.
Opinion polls in Japan show that between 60-80% want the Olympics canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Tokyo and Osaka and other regions of the country are in a state of emergency, which is likely to be extended beyond 31 May.
Organizers and the IOC say the Games can be held safely with 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes entering Japan, joined by tens of thousands of additional judges, officials, sponsors, television operators and the media.
Last week, IOC Vice President John Coates was asked if the Olympics would be held if a state of emergency prevailed.
“Absolutely, yes,” he replied.