TOKYO OLYMPICS: Japan under pressure to cancel the games
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are set to begin in July after a year's delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there's still pressure to cancel the games.
A petition with around 350,000 signatures has been submitted to organisers in a bid to stop the event being staged in Japan.
The "Stop Tokyo Olympics" campaign is worried that the event will increase the workload on medical staff during the summer.
On top of that, the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association have also made clear they do not want the games to go ahead.
They say an increase in hospitalisations from the games would not be manageable as they already "have their hands full".
Most of Japan is, at the time of writing, in a state of emergency as they battle to lower coronavirus infection rates across the country.
They are currently experiencing a fourth wave and less than 40% of medial workers are inoculated against COVID.
Furthermore, less than 2% of the Japanese population are vaccinated, meaning rates of infection are still high.
Some towns in the country have abandoned plans to host athletes during the summer's games.
Athletes competing possibly will not be able to travel with family and may have to live in quarantine for the entirety of their stay.
Vaccines key to Tokyo Olympics safety?
International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach has assured Japan that the games will be safe.
Bach believes more than 80% of Olympic Village residents would be vaccinated, or booked for vaccination, ahead of July's start date.
"Together with our Japanese partners and friends, I can only re-emphasise this full commitment of the IOC to organise safe Olympic and Paralympic games for everybody," Bach said.
"To accomplish this, we are now fully focused on the delivery of the Olympic Games."
Coe confident Tokyo Olympics will go ahead
World Athletics president Lord Sebastian Coe has expressed his certainty that the games will go ahead as planned.
He recognised the difficulties which forced the games to be postponed last year and highlighted the improvement 12 months on.
Coe said, "I know at this stage (last year) athletes were beginning to find it really difficult to maintain their training regimes and competitions were beginning to slide off the radar screen."
"Now they're having greater access to training and competitions."
"I can understand bystanders looking at this and being fearful - but that just reinforces for us the need to make sure people do understand sport actually is good at this.
"I want to reassure the Japanese people that we take this seriously, with a rigorous focus on the COVID protocols.
"We've staged events with crowds in many places in the world... done it successfully and haven't produced a great spike in numbers.
"We recognise sport does play a really important part in our communities."
There would be a limited number of supporters allowed to attend the games due to restrictions.
As mentioned earlier, athletes possibly would not be allowed to travel with family members and stadiums would be limited in capacity.
However, Coe says that despite this, the games should still go ahead.
"There are billions of people across the globe that want the games to take place, the athletes and broadcasters want the games to take place."
"Everybody wants stadiums full of noisy, passionate people - but if the games have to take place without crowds, or certainly with fewer people in stadiums, the athletes, the world of sport, accepts that now."
Return to London?
The 2012 Olympics were held in London and newly elected mayor Sadiq Khan wants to bring them back.
One of his promises if re-elected was to begin looking into the possibility of bringing the games back.
It's a move that was struck with criticism, using the Olympics as a way to win votes.
Those critics believe it is highly unlikely the games would return to London in a such a short period of time.
Others outside of the capital felt they should be staged across the country, away from the city.
“By ensuring the Games are staged across the UK and visitors encouraged and supported to explore every corner of our country," Khan says, "London 2036 or 2040 could be a huge boost to levelling up our cities and regions.
"The spirit of 2012 showed London and Londoners at their best. It was a time that displayed the inclusive, diverse and welcoming heart of our city.
"As we emerge from Covid-19, we need to harbour this spirit and remind people what makes London the greatest city in the world.
"Bringing the Olympics back to London would do exactly that.”
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