Japan PM thanks people for safe Tokyo Olympics during pandemic

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga delivers speech
Image Source: AP

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga delivers a speech during a ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park in Nagasaki, southern Japan, Monday, August 9

Japan’s prime minister thanked people for helping the country hold the Olympics safely despite the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the Games were delayed by a year and were held under strict restrictions, but “I believe we were able to fulfill our responsibility as the host nation,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said. Thanked the people for their understanding and cooperation.

The 17-day Summer Olympics were mostly played without spectators. Athletes remained in an isolation bubble, quickly donning masks from their playgrounds and had to leave Japan shortly after their competitions ended.

But the Games were a testament to perseverance, and as Suga praised the Japanese athletes for the country’s record 58 medals, “some won medals and others didn’t, but all their performances were moving forward.”

Suga spoke about the Olympics on Monday at a ceremony in Nagasaki, which marked the 76th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the Japanese city.

Suga has been criticized for forcing the Games on the Japanese public who did not want them to be held during the pandemic.

Japan has counted 1 million infections and more than 15,700 deaths from COVID-19, better than many countries, but the delta version is causing several recent cases and accelerating the spread of the virus.

Tokyo’s new daily cases have more than doubled during the Olympics, with 2,884 reported for a total of 252,169 cases on Monday. About 18,000 people with mild cases are isolating at home, with severe cases in Tokyo hospitals.

Opinion polls show support for Suga’s government continues to decline, a trajectory the governing party hopes will reverse the end of the Olympics before elections in the fall.


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