Anti-Games protesters and Olympics fans gathered Friday in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building as the Olympic torch reached its final destination ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday.
Dozens of protesters held “no Olympics anywhere” signs, chanted “get out IOC” and banged on tambourines, demanding the Games be called off amid a heavy police presence.
“I came here today because I still don’t think it’s too late for the Olympics to be canceled,” said Namaeshi, an anti-Olympics protester. “We are concerned about the Covid-19 cases increasing in Tokyo.”
Overhead, other members of the public gathered on a bridge overlooking a main road leading to the building, hoping to catch a glimpse of the torch.
A significant portion of the Japanese public opposes holding the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic. Japan has struggled to rein in new cases and Tokyo remains under a state of emergency due to Covid-19.
The final stretch: The ceremony marking the torch’s final destination in Tokyo will be held behind closed doors. Takako Kobayashi, an 80-year-old who saw the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games on television, said she had ventured out of her home to try and see the torch.
“We are living in very difficult times but I’m quite excited about the Olympics,” Kobayashi said. “It’s sad but this Olympics is so different to the 1964 Summer Games. Back then Japan’s economy was growing. It’s not like that now. I hope coronavirus goes away soon.”