According to a report, Japan’s Prime Minister denies IOC pressure to hold the Olympics.
As virus cases rise in Tokyo, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has denied being pressed by the International Olympic Committee to hold a Games that is deeply unpopular.
With only a few days until the opening ceremony, Japan’s leader declared that Tokyo was “in the proper location” and “ready to go.”
The 72-year-old stated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he was “absolutely not” pressured into participating in the Games.
In an interview published Wednesday, he stated, “We raised our hands and sought the Olympics because we wanted to do it.”
“If they tried to impose something on me, I’d kick them in the face.”
Suga, who took office in September, also asserted that the Games could be staged safely, claiming that infection levels in Tokyo are still low.
In recent days, the Japanese capital, which has a population of 14 million people, has witnessed roughly 1,000 daily infections, significantly fewer than many other major cities of comparable size.
Medical experts urged the people to stay at home, watch the Olympics on TV, and avoid personal contact with others after the Japanese capital recorded 1,832 daily cases on Wednesday, the highest number since January.
According to the Journal, Suga resisted repeated advice to cancel the event.
He stated, “The simplest and easiest thing to do is to quit.”
However, “the government’s responsibility is to deal with problems.”
The action began on Wednesday, but the official opening ceremony will take place on Friday, and the games will last until August 8.
They will be held primarily behind closed doors in order to prevent the possibility of the coronavirus spreading throughout Tokyo and other cities in Japan.
Suga emphasized that infections in Tokyo are still very low, citing recent large athletic events such as Wimbledon and the Euro tournament, which were held in front of thousands of people without masks despite tens of thousands of new illnesses every day.
“When you compare our number of infections to that of other nations, we have a whole order of magnitude fewer,” he said.
“Vaccinations are progressing, and we’re taking severe measures to prevent infections, so in my opinion, we’re in the correct spot and ready to go.”
The government of Suga and the Olympic organizers have been under fire for insisting on hosting the event.
Suga’s government’s approval rating has slipped to just over 30%, and he faces a leadership competition and general election after the Games.