Olympics-Japan’s former Prime Minister Abe will be absent from the Olympic opening ceremony-NHK Reuters

© Reuters. File picture: On November 16, 2020, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach applauded after awarding the Olympic medal to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo, Japan. REUTERS/Kim Kyu

Tokyo (Reuters)-According to the public broadcaster NHK, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics. He once dressed as a video game character Super Mario to promote the Rio Olympics.

In 2013, Abe played a huge role in attracting the Olympic Games to Tokyo. In front of a banquet hall full of IOC members, he promised that Fukushima’s lingering nuclear disaster was “controlled” and his The country is positioned as “passionate, proud, and a firm believer in the Olympic Games.” Due to health reasons, he stepped down last year and his successor Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to attend.

Nevertheless, the opening ceremony scheduled for Friday will still be a low-key https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/tokyo-opening-ceremony-will-be-sobering-show-not-flashy-2021 -07-January 21st event, according to Japanese media reports, less than 950 people will participate, most of them dignitaries, including less than 20 global leaders.

The opening ceremony is usually the main show in the host country, but with the surge in COVID-19 cases in Tokyo and its surrounding areas, organizers have excluded spectators from most Olympic events.

NHK stated that after the Japanese government declared Tokyo a state of emergency and virus restrictions, Abe decided not to participate in the ceremony in order to minimize the health risks of residents and tourists.

The number of COVID-19 infections in the capital has surged and is expected to soar further, putting pressure on medical service providers.

Only one-third of the Japanese have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and they worry that the Olympics may become a super spread event.

In a recent poll conducted by the Asahi newspaper, 68% of respondents expressed doubts about the ability of Olympic organizers to control coronavirus infections, and 55% of respondents said they opposed the continuation of the Olympics.

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