10,000 Olympic volunteers quit ahead of Games: organisers

Around 10,000 of 80,000 planned Tokyo 2020 Olympic volunteers have quit, organisers have revealed as they battle persistent doubts over the Games with just 50 days until the opening ceremony, AFP reports. 

Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto ruled out a further postponement of the Games, speaking to a Japan sports paper, and said cancellation would only happen in catastrophic circumstance such as most delegations not being able to come to Japan.

Organisers will later Thursday mark 50 days to go when they unveil details about the medal ceremonies, in the latest attempt to build public enthusiasm despite polls showing most people in Japan want the Games delayed or cancelled.

Japan is battling a fourth wave of coronavirus infections, with Tokyo and several other parts of the country under a state of emergency due to last until a month before the Games.

On Wednesday night, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told local media that around 10,000 volunteers -- who are vital to the smooth running of the massive event -- have quit, largely over coronavirus concerns.

Others dropped out after the Games were postponed by a year, or in protest over sexist remarks made by Hashimoto's predecessor who was forced to resign.

Some of the volunteers are likely also to be among the approximately 80 percent of people in Japan who oppose hosting the Games this year, according to opinion polls.

But surveys among the population of Tokyo have found a more even split between those in favour and opposed to holding the Games.

Muto said the reduction in volunteers would not affect the running of the Games because the event has been scaled back, so fewer people are needed.


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