Tokyo initiates state of emergency on the verge of the Olympics

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The city of Tokyo, headquarters of Olympics starting this month, has entered a new state of emergency to contain the Covid-19 this Monday, less than two weeks before the Games start, amid doubts about whether the measures will contain an increase in cases of the disease.

Last week, organizers announced that spectators will be banned from almost all competition venues. Foreign spectators had already been barred months ago, and now authorities are asking residents to watch the event on television to keep people moving, which could spread the contagion, to a minimum.

Opinion polls continually show that the Japanese public is concerned about the holding of the Olympics during the pandemic.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s handling of the pandemic — including an initially slow distribution of vaccines — undermines his support. The issue is especially sensitive ahead of a national election and the definition of the ruling party’s leadership later this year.

“We would ask people to support home athletes,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on a Sunday television program.