SINCE late March, Japan has struggled to slow the wave of infections due to the appearance of more contagious variants, with daily new cases soaring above 7,000 and critically ill patients increasing pressure on the healthcare system, especially in Tokyo and Osaka.
Despite the concerns of medical experts and the public about the potential risks of hosting the Olympics, Yoshihide Suga, Japan's Prime Minister said he is determined to hold a "safe and secure" Olympics which will start from the 23rd of July, 2021.
Experts at the virus panel meeting gave preliminary approval to the government's plan to downgrade the state of emergency in Tokyo, Aichi, Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka. At a parliamentary Health and Labour Committee's meeting last week, Dr Shigeru Omi, head of a government COVID-19 panel, warned that holding the Olympics during a pandemic was "unusual" and warned that it would increase the risk of infection.
It should be noted that, in Tokyo, the number of new cases dropped to about 500 cases a day from over 1,100 cases a day recorded in mid-May.