The United States track and field team have cancelled its pre-Olympic training camp in Japan because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, local authorities announced on Wednesday, raising more questions about the holding of the Game.
With less than three months to go before the Games begin on July 23, the host city Tokyo is under a state of emergency amid a surge in cases, 10 weeks from the start of the Games on 23 July.
American athletes were due to train in nearby Chiba and the local government said “concerns for their athletes’ safety” led to the cancellation.
The US team is yet to comment.
The news comes a day after Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka said she was “not really sure” whether the rescheduled Olympics should go ahead this summer
A recent poll found that nearly 60% of the people in Japan want the Games to be cancelled, a fact that may have been exacerbated by the country’s wish to offer donated vaccines to about 2,500 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and support staff to prevent an outbreak during the event.
In Japan, 2.6% of the population has been vaccinated and reports that athletes would be prioritised led to criticism from the public.
One sponsor has also responded to rising public concern in Japan, with a Toyota Motor Corp executive saying company officials felt “conflicted” over the Games.