May 24, 2021 - Health

State Department warns against travel to Japan

Security guards keep watch next to the Olympic Rings while people take part in a protest against the hosting of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department issued a "Do Not Travel" warning for Japan, citing the surge in coronavirus cases.

Why it matters: The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8, with thousands of athletes from all over the globe set to arrive in the city.

  • The travel advisory is a level 4, the highest cautionary warning the department puts out.

Situational awareness: After lifting their state of emergency, Japan has had a big increase in reported COVID-19 cases.

  • Vaccinations are also moving slowly: only 1.8% of Japan's population are fully vaccinated.

What they're saying: The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, a group of roughly 6000 doctors, wrote a letter recently calling for Japan to cancel the Olympics.

  • "We strongly request that the authorities convince the [International Olympic Committee] that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games,” the association said in its statement to the Washington Post.
  • Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of e-commerce business Rakuten, told CNN on Friday that hosting the games would be a "suicide mission."

Go deeper: Japan's 11th hour COVID Olympics nightmare

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