Seoul, South Korea – The Japanese government has extended a state of emergency targeting major cities until at least June 20. Overwhelming Many Japanese don’t want to go as planned.

This is the third emergency of the pandemic in Japan and the second expansion since the current emergency began on April 25. The emergency has shortened the opening hours of some businesses. Participation in major events is limited, covering the capital Tokyo, the second largest city, Osaka, and seven other prefectures. The less serious “quasi-emergency” will be extended until June 20 in the other five provinces.

“The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus has been falling across the country since mid-May, but the situation remains unpredictable,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said. Mentionned A government working group met on Friday after finalizing the decisions requested by several local governments.

Spread in Japan variant The strain of the virus has slowed the decline in the number of cases. Stretched COVID-19 patients have killed people at home, access Medical.

Vaccine rollout in Japan still slowest In developed countries, only 6% of residents received at least one dose. Last year, Japan had relatively few cases of COVID-19 compared to other countries, so it took a few months after the need for specialists to sign a vaccine purchase contract with a manufacturer. foreign vaccines. I linked it.

In addition, Japan requires that imported vaccines go through domestic clinical trials, which delays the approval process. And he knows a certain horror of vaccines, undermining trust between residents and the government.

Nonetheless, the government’s claim to ensure the safety of the game only grows stronger.

“I know a lot of people are worried and worried,” Suga told reporters.

In a meeting Thursday, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, said athletes “should come to Tokyo with confidence and prepare” and “the most prepared Olympics ever” in the Japanese capital . “City” was praised.

The IOC asks Olympic athletes to sign a waiver and the organizers are exonerated of any responsibility for the risks related to COVID-19. recognized This was a concern for some athletes, but the IOC calls it “standard practice”.

The unwavering stance of the organizers this week met growing criticism in Belgium and abroad.

“Since the advent of COVID-19, such dangerous people from various parts of the world have never gathered in one place,” said Naoto Kaminoyama, president of the Japanese Medical Association. Mentionned Thursday reporter.

One of the possible consequences is “if a new mutant of the virus arises as a result of the Olympics,” he added.

Ann paper Meanwhile, this week’s New England Journal of Medicine questioned the organizer’s fundamental debate that the Games could be held safely. “We have decided to continue the Olympic Games with the decision of the IOC. I think it is not informed by the best scientific evidence, ”writes the author.

The author notes that when the organizer decided to postpone the game to March 2020, there were only 865 active COVID-19 cases in Japan. Currently, there are more than 70,000 cases, but the number of active cases worldwide has increased from 385,000 to 19 million during the same period.

Also this week, Japan’s second-largest newspaper in terms of circulation, Asahi Shimbun, For the first time as a major Japanese media editorial About the game to be canceled. With a history of 142 years, this publication is one of the oldest newspapers in Asia and sponsor of the Olympic Games.

Sponsors are particularly worried about the prospect of canceling a game that could cost Japan around $ 17 billion. report As economists at the Nomura Research Institute pointed out this week, another emergency in response to a new wave of infections after the Olympics could cost the country several times as much.

Copyright 2021 NPR. For more information, please visit https://www.npr.org.

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