Japanese Doctor Warns of Risk of Olympic Virus Mutant

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The president of the Japanese union of doctors thinks it is too dangerous to hold the Olympic Games in his country next summer. According to Naoto Ueyama, there is a risk that a new mutant of the coronavirus will arise during the Games.


“Tens of thousands of people from 200 countries in the world come to Japan. That means that all the mutations that exist now, such as the British, Brazilian, South African and Indian, will be concentrated in Tokyo in July,” Ueyama said during a conversation with foreign journalists working in Japan. “All those mutations can be spread all over the world after the Games. An entirely new mutant may even emerge, an “Olympic” variety. This leads to a huge tragedy and can put us in the face of a hundred years of criticism. We have come to the point where the international community has to say: this has to stop.”

Barely two months before the start of the Games, resistance in Japan to the continuation of the global sporting event is growing. Polls show that a majority of the population wants the Games to be cancelled or postponed again. The latter is no longer an option for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after the Games had already been postponed last year due to the corona crisis.

Japan is struggling with the fourth corona wave. The vaccination process is also slow. Only 5 percent of the population has had at least one injection. The IOC has called on all athletes, trainers, officials and journalists who come to Tokyo to get vaccinated.

“These Games were initially seen as the Games of recovery after the 2011 East Japan tsunami,” said Ueyama. “But if these Games continue, it could lead to another disaster. The virus is still spreading in Japan, the state of emergency is expected to be extended again. A majority of the Japanese are not interested in these Games. Under normal circumstances, the IOC would be responsible for this event, but not during a pandemic. The IOC does not have the authority to make decisions in the situation,” said the president of the medical union.

He believes that Japan itself should decide to cancel the sporting event. Ueyama called on the international community to advocate for this too. “We have come to the point where the international community needs to know what dangers are looming. It is irresponsible to let the Games continue.”

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