With less than a month until the start of the 2021 Olympics, a part of the Japanese population remains sceptical that the Games can be held safely in Tokyo.
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Protests were held across Japan, from major metro stations to well-known public places, in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan building and the organising committee's headquarters. Protests have amplified especially after two Ugandan nationals tested positive for coronavirus shortly after arriving in Japan.
Japan’s Olympic chief said Monday there was “no way” to ensure zero virus cases among teams arriving for the Tokyo Games, as officials prepare to tighten screening procedures.
Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita said “thorough measures” would be necessary at airports, after two members of Uganda’s team tested positive last week following their arrival in Japan.
“No matter what measures are put in place, there is no way we will have zero positive cases arriving,” Yamashita told reporters.
“Even if you’ve had two vaccine doses, it doesn’t guarantee every individual will be negative.”
On Sunday, a Games official had said teams should be immediately isolated if they arrive in Japan with an infected team member.
“In order to make sure no clusters arise, we need to have thorough measures at the border at the time of entry to Japan,” Yamashita said, adding that daily virus testing would also help reduce the risk of infections spreading.
But he hoped athletes would have “positive memories” of the Games, despite “severe restrictions” that mean they can’t even leave the Olympic Village to buy souvenirs. ■
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