CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said Olympics this summer will be a "suicide mission.

Tokyo, Japan | Sat, May 15, 2021

Although the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage around the world, the head of Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten has cautioned that holding the Tokyo Olympics this summer will be a “suicide mission.” In an interview with CNN, CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said, “It’s risky to host the major international event from all over the world.” “As a result, the risk is too great, and… I’m against the Tokyo Olympics this year,” Mikitani said, describing the Games as “a suicide mission.”

Japan’s coronavirus state of emergency was extended on Friday as the country battled a fourth wave of virus infections. The surge has put strain on the country’s healthcare system, with doctors warning of shortages and burnout on several occasions. With less than ten weeks before the Games begin on July 23, public sentiment remains divided, with the majority favoring a further postponement or cancellation. A petition to cancel the Tokyo Olympics was sent to the city’s governor on Friday, with more than 351,000 signatures.

Mikitani, who has criticized the government’s handling of the pandemic and the government’s hosting of the Tokyo Olympics this year, said it was not too late to cancel the game, adding, “All is possible.” However, organizers claim that the Games can be held safely due to virus countermeasures and point to a series of active recent test events, including those involving international athletes. On Friday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also told reporters: “Games can be held in a safe and secure setting. We want to move forward with our plans with confidence.”

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