Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike says plans to hold mass public viewings of the Olympics at six sites have been canceled, as worries grow about the coronavirus pandemic amid one of the slowest vaccine rollouts in the developed world.
“These are necessary measures to make the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics a success,” she told reporters after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
The sites had included Inokashira and Yoyogi parks as well as a university in Tokyo to watch livestreaming of the games, which open July 23.
Koike said the sites will instead be offered as vaccination sites. Suga expressed understanding, she added.
Some medical experts have expressed concern about holding the games, with tens of thousands of athletes, officials and dignitaries entering the country.
Fans from abroad were banned several months ago, and organizers are expected to announce Monday whether some local fans will be allowed. The recommendation from advisers headed by Dr. Shigeru Omi, handed to the government and Tokyo organizers Friday, said no fans would be safer.
Only about 6% of people in Japan are fully vaccinated. Companies, like automaker Toyota Motor Corp. and technology conglomerate SoftBank, start inoculating workers and their families with the Moderna vaccine in a massive drive starting Monday. Japan now relies totally on imports, and the only other vaccine in use here is Pfizer. Various public opinion polls show most Japanese are opposed to holding the games.