UPDATED 1:35 PM PT — Friday, July 24, 2020
Residents in Tokyo have demanded the cancellation of next year’s summer Olympics over coronavirus concerns. Protesters gathered outside Japan’s National Stadium on Friday, where they urged officials to not host the games.
They expressed doubt over whether the games can be held safely without a virus vaccine.
Friday marked the official day the opening ceremony for the Olympics was supposed to take place. The event was postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic.
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) July 23, 2020
According to protesters, hosting the games will also bring Tokyo economic turmoil.
“Those who benefit from the Olympics are big construction companies and government, who just gain money. Otherwise, for poor and weak people, it gets worse. So, I disagree with not only the Tokyo Olympics, but all Olympics and Paralympics. I hope all games are cancelled. I joined the demonstration for that.” – Ariza Kurobara, anti-Olympics protester
A recent poll suggested only 24% of local residents want the games held in their city. These results came in stark contrast to the original poll, which claimed 70% of residents wanted to host the Olympics.
The postponement is expected cost the IOC roughly $800 million, not including economic pressure from Tokyo.