Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and IOC President Thomas Bach have drawn criticism over the announcement on Monday that spectators can attend the Tokyo Olympics in July next year despite rising COVID-19 cases, which is seen as a political move that jeopardizes public health. Suga and Bach, whose terms end in August and September 2021 respectively, are accused of using the 2021 Summer Olympics as a tool to win a re-election.
“Prime Minister Suga’s close advisors want to make next year’s Tokyo Olympics a success, which would allow them to win general elections after dissolving the House of Representatives and form the Suga administration,” reported The Asahi Shimbun. An advisor said the Summer Olympics are the biggest stimulus package of the government.
Prime Minister Suga, who was one of the closest advisors to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, took office in September following the sudden resignation of his predecessor due to reasons of poor health and approval rating. He is expected to stay in post until elections due in September 2021.
Prime Minister Suga has expressed his determination to pave his own way and be more than a “substitute”, calling for a “working cabinet”. Two months into his premiership, however, his approval rating has remained the same due to increasing coronavirus cases and accusations of him suppressing scholars who have been critical of the government.
Bach who was elected IOC President in September 2013 has said he would run for a second term in March 2021 in Greece.