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Democracy Now!

No Tokyo Olympics: As COVID Spikes in Japan, Calls Grow to Cancel Games, IOC Refuses

Pressure is growing on organizers to cancel the Tokyo Olympics as Japan struggles to contain a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases. The games, which were delayed by a year due to the pandemic, are scheduled to begin July 23 even though less than 3 percent of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in the developed world.

Jules Boykoff, author and former Olympic athlete who played for the U.S. Olympic soccer team, says the "extremely lopsided" contracts the International Olympic Committee signs with host countries give the body ultimate authority over whether or not to cancel the event. "More than 80 percent of the people in Japan oppose hosting the Olympics this summer, and yet the IOC insists on pressing ahead," says Boykoff. "Democracy Now!" also speaks with Satoko Itani, professor of sport, gender and sexuality studies at Kansai University, who says there is growing public anger at the government and a "sense of unfairness" that the games are going ahead during a pandemic. "They feel that the people are not protected," they say.

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