Story at a glance

  • The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association posted an open letter Monday to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga warning that hospitals in Tokyo are overwhelmed as COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
  • “We strongly request that the authorities convince the IOC that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games,” the association said.
  • Suga and Olympic officials have maintained Tokyo can safely hold the games with appropriate COVID-19 measures in place.

A group of Japanese doctors is calling for the cancellation of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as Japan is currently battling a fourth wave of coronavirus infections. 

Reuters reports the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, a group of about 6,000 primary care doctors, posted an open letter Monday to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga warning that hospitals in Tokyo are overwhelmed as COVID-19 cases are on the rise. 


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Japan last week extended its third state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas until May 31 as it struggles to get cases under control. 

“We strongly request that the authorities convince the IOC [International Olympic Committee] that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games,” the association said in the letter, according to Reuters. 

“The medical institutions dealing with COVID-19 have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity,” the association said, adding, “Japan will bear the maximum responsibility.” 

The letter follows a petition with more than 350,000 signatures calling for the Olympics to be canceled that was submitted to authorities last week. 

Suga and Olympic officials have maintained Tokyo can safely hold the games with appropriate COVID-19 measures in place. The Tokyo Olympics were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The games will be held July 23-Aug. 8.

Japan is averaging fewer than 6,000 cases per day with a total of 688,873 confirmed cases and 11,587 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

The country has lagged in its vaccination rollout, with about 3.5 percent of its population fully vaccinated, according to Reuters. 


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Published on May 18, 2021