Only 50 days remain until the hotly debated event.
As part of the process that goes into the formation of the Olympic games, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have approximately 80,000 unpaid volunteers on retainer to aid with various tasks. However, as larger portions of the general Japanese public express mounting concerns with the safety of conducting the games while Japan’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue to stall out, those concerns have begun to affect these volunteers, putting a dent in the Olympic workforce.
Approximately 10,000 of the unpaid volunteers have informed the Olympic organizers that they have no intention of participating in the process when the games run on July 23. While around 80% of the athletes slated to compete in the games have been fully vaccinated, only around 2-3% of Japan’s populace have been vaccinated. As such, being in prolonged contact with so many other people who likely have not been vaccinated presents a clear and present danger.
“We have not confirmed the individual reasons,” the organizers said in a statement. “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.”
Recent opinion polls of the Japanese populace show 50-80% affirmation rates when asked whether the games should proceed as normal and as scheduled, though pollsters have noted that the rate of respondence depends at least partially on how the question is phrased. Despite this, the organizers still seem intent on running the games, and have promised that any foreign athletes that compete will be safe.
“The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee will absolutely make sure to protect the health of the athletes,” Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said.