Apr 26, 2021 - Sports

Japan declares COVID emergency with less than 100 days until Olympics

Daily reported COVID-19 cases in Japan
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

With 88 days until the Tokyo Olympics, a "fourth wave" of the pandemic has hit Japan.

Driving the news: Bars, department stores and theaters across Japan will remain closed for 17 days, after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three other prefectures.

  • A senior member of Japan's ruling party recently questioned Tokyo's ability to host the Games and said cancellation is still an option.
  • The Olympic torch relay has been detoured several times since it began on March 25 and will be banned altogether this weekend.

The state of play: The surge in infections and Olympics concerns have put a spotlight on Japan's lagging vaccine rollout.

  • As of last week, Japan had administered just over 2 million vaccine shots, which is roughly 1% of its population, per Forbes.
  • The U.S., by comparison, has administered nearly 230 million shots, enough for 42% of Americans to get one dose.

What's next: Tokyo organizers and the IOC will unveil a new "playbook" this week, explaining how the Olympics and Paralympics will safely welcome 15,400 athletes, AP reports.

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