The Tokyo Olympics is less than two months away, and there more obstacles the city has to deal with. According to the Associated Press, around 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have backed out of taking part in the games when the event opens on July 23. Organizers said that some dropped up because of the growing COVID-19 concerns in the country.
"We have not confirmed the individual reasons," organizers said in a statement. "In addition to concerns about the coronavirus infection, some dropped out because they found it would be difficult to actually work after checking their work shift, or due to changes in their own environment."
The volunteers are not getting paid but play a key role in the Olympics being a success. Normally, volunteers get a uniform, meals when they work and their commuting costs are covered. The only thing they have to pay for is lodging. The news of the 10,000 volunteers quitting comes 50 days before the start of the Tokyo Games.
Japan is one of the least vaccinated countries in the world, with only 2-3% of the general population fully vaccinated. The International Olympic Committee said at least 80% of the athletes and residents of the Olympic Village will be fully vaccinated, and organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto promises to make sure the athletes are healthy and safe.
"The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee will absolutely make sure to protect the health of the athletes," she said. The Tokyo Games are still good to go, but there are many people in Japan who want the event called off. Studies show that 50-80% of the people in Japan the games canceled.
"We cannot think it's rational to host the Olympics in the city this summer," the newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, said in its editorial section. "Distrust and backlash against the reckless national government, Tokyo government and stakeholders in the Olympics are nothing but escalating. We demand Prime Minister Suga to calmly evaluate the circumstances and decide the cancellation of the summer event." Originally, the Tokyo Games were set to take place last year but was called off due to the pandemic. And despite the health issues in Tokyo and Japan, the IOC is doing everything it can to make the games happen since more and more people are getting vaccinated.