Japan may call on military doctors and nurses from its self-defense forces to help with this year’s Tokyo Olympics, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told parliament on Tuesday.
Kishi said his house had received a request on the matter from game organizers, the DPA reported.
The armed forces began operating vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka this week to help speed up the extremely slow vaccination process in Japan just two months before the scheduled start of the postponed Olympics.
According to the organizers of the Olympic Games, up to 230 doctors will be needed, as well as 310 nurses every day. So far, about 80 per cent of the required number of medical staff have been provided, they said.
Local organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) insist the Games can continue safely, even though Japan is battling a fourth wave of the pandemic and Tokyo is in a state of emergency, the latest lasting until the end of this month.
Tokyo 2020 Coordinating Committee Chairman John Coates said more than 80 percent of the Olympic Village’s residents would have been vaccinated during the Games.
Foreign fans will not be allowed to attend the games, which have been delayed since last year, while the number of attendees from federations, sponsors and the media has been reduced.
A recent survey by Kyodo found that 72 percent of respondents in Japan want the Olympics canceled or rescheduled due to the pandemic.