10,000 Volunteers Pull Out of Helping at Tokyo Olympics amid Calls for Games' Cancellation
The Tokyo Olympics are becoming increasingly complicated for organizers.
According to the Associated Press, nearly 10,000 of 80,000 unpaid volunteers have pulled out from participating in the event, set to begin on July 23. Organizers admitted some of the volunteers resigned from the positions due to COVID-19 fears, among other reasons.
"We have not confirmed the individual reasons," Tokyo Games organizers said in a statement, according to the AP. "In addition to concerns about the coronavirus infection, some dropped out because they found it would be difficult to actually work after checking their work shift, or due to changes in their own environment."
The country has recently struggled with an influx of COVID-19 cases in the lead-up to the Games, which were already postponed from their original date last year.
In late April, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga first announced that Japan would be undergoing its third COVID-19-related lockdown, as Tokyo and three other prefectures — Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo — experienced a sharp increase in cases, NPR reported at the time. The country has since expanded those measures multiple times.
Despite this, the country and the International Olympic Committee, have maintained that the Olympics are to move ahead as scheduled.
"As for the Olympics, I am aware that there are various opinions (about holding the event) but our priority is stemming the spread of infections and protecting the lives and health of the Japanese people," the prime minister said during an announcement last month, Reuters reported.
A recent survey showed that nearly 60 percent of people in Japan want the Games to be canceled this year, according to the outlet. Additionally, a petition to cancel the Olympics with 350,000 signatures was sent to organizers back in May, reported CNN.
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Back in March, officials announced a ban on overseas spectators for the Olympics. And last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel advisory, urging Americans not to go to Japan. Though the U.S. Olympic Committee insisted the advisory did not affect Team USA's plans.