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SoftBank CEO Critical Of Japan Holding Olympics Due To Slow Vaccination

SoftBank CEO Critical Of Japan Holding Olympics Due To Slow Vaccination
While a mass vaccination drive was launched by the Japanese government to catch up with other countries and to ensure a "safe and secure" Olympics Games, the significant dangers of holding the Games in Tokyo were highlighted by the Japanese tycoon Masayoshi Son.
Bewilderment and concern about the Tokyo Olympics was expressed by the influential SoftBank Group CEO in a series of tweets, in which he even called Japan as a "vaccine laggard". He added that people’s lives would be put at risk because of the slow inoculation drive in the country with less than two months remaining for the beginning of the Games.
"Currently more than 80% of people want the Olympics to be postponed or cancelled. Who and on what authority is it being forced through?" the billionaire executive wrote in a Twitter post in Japanese over the weekend.
"Does the IOC (International Olympic Committee) have the power to decide that the Games would go ahead?” Son wrote in a follow-up tweet late on Sunday.
"There's talk about a huge penalty (if the Games are cancelled). But if 100,000 people from 200 countries descend on vaccine-laggard Japan and the mutant variant spreads, lives could be lost, subsidies could result if a state of emergency is called, and gross domestic product could fall. If we consider what the public has to endure, I think we could have a lot more to lose," he said.
A day prior to Son’s comments, the IOC Vice President John Coates had said that games would "absolutely" go ahead even if there were restriction in Tokyo because of Covid-19 pandemic.
In a television interview earlier this month, Son had said that he was "afraid" of having the Olympics partly because of the severe hit of the pandemic in some countries.
Restrictions under a state-of-emergency in still being implemented in Japan and the authorities have progressively even expanded the restrictions because of fourth wave of infections of Covid-19 across the country.
In contrast some of the other major economies are currently easing up lockdown measures and the economies are being opened up with vaccinations of the populations being conducted at great speed.
The Games are scheduled to start on July 23.
Only 4.4 per cent of Japan’s population have been vaccinated so far which is the slowest rate of vaccination among the larger, rich countries. The country has recorded 711,360 infections and 12,232 Covid-19 deaths from the virus.
Mass vaccinations using the newly approved Moderna Inc dose was started by the country’s military in Tokyo and Osaka on Monday. The rise in fresh cases of Covid-19 in Osaka in particular has put the medical system in the city under pressure.
The government has vowed to finish vaccinating all eligible elderly who wish to be inoculated by the end of July.
The majority of the population of Japan are arguably opposed to holding the Games this year because of the slow vaccination progress in the country.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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