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Tokyo Olympics At Risk of Being Postponed Again if Virus Strengthens, Mutates

Kiyoshi Kurokawa, a leading Japanese government adviser, warns that the Olympics, already delayed once, may have to be put off further if the virus continues to morph and spread.

Image source: Kyodo News

A recent spike in cases in Tokyo is due to failure to stick to guidelines to prevent contagion, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, a prominent Japanese government adviser, said on Wednesday.

“I think the virus is mutating all the time … it may be a much stronger virus that triggers a second wave,” said Kurokawa. “But if there are some mutations, that is a completely different story. That could happen anywhere in the world.”

A physician who served as a science adviser to the Japanese cabinet from 2006-2008, Kurokawa also headed an independent probe into the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Currently, he is advising the government on the coronavirus pandemic.

The spike in infections in Tokyo, which accounts for more than one-third of Japan’s more than 23,000 cases, has prompted a backlash against a planned campaign to promote domestic tourism. Kurokawa said authorities were trying to balance priorities.

“I think one of the concerns of this pandemic is how to prevent the spreading out of this corona infection. The other side of this issue is … how to promote the economy. The government is “carefully balancing” the two priorities.

Kurokawa was appointed last month to head a new panel to examine how to use artificial intelligence to fight the spread of the virus. His appointment to the four-person group including a Nobel Prize winning geneticist came after Economics Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura abruptly announced he would dissolve a panel of scientific experts and remake it with new members.

The move came amid reports of clashes between the health experts and politicians.

Kurokawa said whatever experts recommend based on science, political leaders have to make the final policy call.

“The scientific community’s recommendations have to be fact-based, science-based recommendations, but politicians have to make the decisions,” he said. “Scientists give advice, but decision-making is not by scientists.”

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told Reuters this week that the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming coronavirus.


Source: Equities News

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