After last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, the Olympic Games are due to kick off in Tokyo in five weeks’ time. But as the clock winds down on the opening ceremony, many in Japan continue to question the decision to hold the Games and risk unleashing another wave of infections that could derail the country’s fragile economic recovery.
Though foreign spectators have been barred from attending the Games, the event will still draw athletes and officials from around the world, increasing the risk of new variants of COVID-19 being introduced into Japan.
Some public health experts fear the Games could become a “superspreader” event. Last month, the head of the Japan Doctors Union warned the gathering could even spawn a new “Tokyo Olympic” strain of COVID-19.
Japan is on the downslope of its fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, and its third declared state of emergency is set to ease next week.