COVID Surge Hits: Are the Japan Olympics Still Going to Happen?

Youth Olympic Games by iocyoungreporters is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The next Olympic Games are coming up in Japan in about two months.

The problem is that the island nation has been hit by a massive wave of COVID; certain hospitals in some cities like Osaka are overflowing with patients. 

It’s leading to calls to cancel the Olympics altogether.

This is actually Japan’s fourth wave of COVID. 

Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Medals-1 by Sheba Also 18 Million Views is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

What’s Going on in Japan?

Japan is currently being hit by its fourth wave; COVID is getting particularly bad in the west of the country which is populated by almost 10 million people, but comprised over 30% of the deaths this month. 

This Western region makes up only about 7% of Japan’s massive 126.3 million population, but as you can see the death rate is significant. 

The idea of holding the Olympics in Tokyo is facing a lot of resistance, with hospitals in Osaka six hours away having “a collapse of the medical system” according to a local hospital director. 

In particular, Osaka is struggling under the weight of the British variant, which has led to a huge surge in positive and critical cases. 

Another large opposition to the Olympic games comes from Japan itself; over 80% oppose having the games there because they don’t want to be guinea pigs for a virus. They are also sick of having lost work and jobs while seeing their government funnel all its money into a big public relations stunt for people’s entertainment. 

Surging Overtime, Personal Collapse

Doctors and nurses in Japan are reaching their breaking point, with people putting in hundreds of overtime hours and being on call for emergencies at all hours of the day. 

The director of ER at one of Osaka’s main hospitals Akira Takasu put it well. He said the Olympics need to be called off since they are currently dealing with the British variants and “next might be an inflow of Indian variants.”

As Takasu said, the Olympics involves “70,000 or 80,000 athletes.” Such an event would attract travelers from all across the globe.

As he notes, such an influx may be a “trigger” for future COVID flare-ups over the summer.

The last thing Japan needs is even more cases just so a bunch of Olympic bigwigs can pal around and give their athletes an opportunity to win a few medals. 

America is doing pretty well with COVID; so why not move the Olympics over here if they need to take place? We’re ready for them and the influx of tourist dollars. 

As for whether the Olympics will actually be called off? To be honest, that’s unlikely at this point; the head of the ruling liberal party, Toshihiro Nikai, says that “successful Olympics” for Japan are very important and a significant opportunity. 

Nikai also maintains that taking care of issues can happen “one by one” with the right preparation and resolutions.