A governor in western Japan’s prefecture has spoken out about the cancellation of torchlight events in his area ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday that Governor Tatsuya Maruyama of Shimane Prefecture was unhappy with COVID-19 prevention measures around the relay.
The relay is due to pass through the small prefecture in May.
Kyodo quoted the governor as saying he was “dissatisfied with the measures taken by the central government and the capital’s governments in Tokyo to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.”
The torch relay is scheduled to begin on March 25 in northeastern Japan and will cross the country with about 10,000 runners. The relay ends in Tokyo with the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on July 23.
Concerns about the relay are reflected in the general skepticism in Japan about the conduct of the Olympic Games. Several polls show that about 80% of Japanese believe that games should be canceled or postponed.
Local organizers and the International Olympic Committee began releasing the first edition of the so-called Playbooks for the Games earlier this month.
The rules explain in limited detail how 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympic athletes will enter Japan, compete and then leave the country.
Playbooks also outline how tens of thousands of employees, broadcasters and media will enter Japan.
Tokyo and other prefectures have been on emergency alert since Jan. 7 over the COVID-19 pandemic. New cases have been dropped in the capital recently after an increase in several weeks. And after a late start, Japan began its vaccination campaign this week.