(ATR) Japan’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic takes a hit as 2021 begins.
IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga met in November. (IOC)
The host country for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics plans to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures this week, according to Kyodo News
Citing government sources, Kyodo
reports the declaration could come as early as Thursday and could go into effect either Thursday or Friday. The measure could last for about one month.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said during a Jan. 1 press conference that a state of emergency was being considered but did not give any specifics. The number of cases of serious symptoms has been on the rise in Tokyo. On Sunday, the figure reached triple digits (101) for the first time since the initial state of emergency was lifted in late May.
A record 108 people were reported with severe symptoms on Monday.
Suga said the government will begin vaccinations by late February with front-line health care workers at the head of the line.
He reiterated his pledge to hold the Olympics and Paralympics this summer.
Japanese National Badminton Team Grounded
Kento Momota (BWF)
Kento Momota, the world’s top ranked men’s badminton player, tested positive for COVID-19 at Tokyo’s Narita Airport on Sunday prior to the Japanese team’s departure for Bangkok, Thailand.
No other members of the delegation tested positive but the Nippon Badminton Association (NBA) cancelled the trip and withdrew all its players from the Yonex Thailand Open and the Toyota Thailand Open scheduled for later this month.
The NBA said on Sunday that Momota has exhibited no symptoms of coronavirus.
‘Ethical Hackers’ Working to Protect Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020 is using so-called white hat hackers to prevent any cyberattacks during the Olympics and Paralympics.
The organizing committee has trained 220 IT security experts, reports Kyodo
, most of them conscripted from Japanese companies such as Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and NEC Corp.
Tokyo organizers do not want a repeat of PyeongChang 2018, which was affected by a cyberattack on the day of the Opening Ceremony.
An additional worry for the Tokyo Games is the increase of potential targets since more people are teleworking due to the pandemic. Should limits on spectators be put in place, a rise in the use of live streaming the events could also be a cause of concern.
Written by Gerard Farek
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