A small demonstration against Tokyo hosting the rearranged Olympic Games in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic has been held in the Japanese capital a day before International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates is due to arrive there.
About 30 protesters stood in the rain outside the headquarters of the Japanese Olympic Committee chanting slogans such as "We don’t need the Olympics" and "Don’t come, Coates", according to Kyodo News.
Posters bearing the message "Do not use health care, vaccines or tax money for the Olympics" were also displayed during the short demonstration.
They were particularly angry at comments made by Coates, head of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, who said last month that he believed the Games could still be staged in Tokyo even if the city remained in a state of emergency.
Coates is due to arrive in Tokyo to oversee the final preparations, along with the IOC sports director Kit McConnell, who arrived in Tokyo today.
"They talk about a safe and secure [Games], but there's been zero explanation," a female protester told Kyodo News.
"They must take us for fools if they think we'll give up as time passes."
Tokyo and some other parts of Japan remain under a state of emergency imposed in late April, with the Government due to decide this week whether to lift it, as planned, on June 20.
One compromise, according to Kyodo News, could be introducing a "quasi-state of emergency" for the period of the Olympic Games, due to take place between July 23 and August 8.
Under a quasi-state of emergency, Governors in prefectures can impose measures in specific areas rather than entire regions.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected convene a task force meeting on Thursday (June 17) to decide whether to end the third state of emergency.
At the same time, he could discuss with Tokyo 2020 about whether to allow domestic spectators to attend the Olympics.
Until the end of this month, attendance at big events is limited to a maximum of 5,000 people or 50 per cent of a venue's capacity, whichever number is smaller.
Among other options, the Government is now looking to relax the limit to 10,000 or 20,000 or restricting the number to simply less than 50 percent of venue capacity, according to Kyodo News.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has been boosted by a joint declaration yesterday by the Group of Seven (G7) leaders, who released a statement after their meeting in Cornwall in the United Kingdom again backing the "safe and secure" Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"It is very encouraging to note that support for the holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 was expressed in the G7 Summit communiqué," Koike said.
"I believe that the G7 leaders reiterated their support for the Games in recognition of the initiatives taken by Japan and Tokyo.
"With less than 40 days to go to the Olympic Games, we will, in collaboration the Government of Japan, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and other stakeholders, continue to steadily shore up preparations for the Games to provide a safe and secure environment for everyone, including the athletes, games officials and others coming to Tokyo from around the world."