Tokyo's infection spike after Olympic delay sparks questions
TOKYO (AP) — Before the Olympics were postponed, Japan looked like it had coronavirus infections contained, even as they spread in neighboring countries. Now that the games have been pushed to next year, Tokyo’s cases are spiking, and the city's governor is requesting that people stay home, even hinting at a possible lockdown.
The sudden rise in the number of virus cases in Tokyo and the government's strong actions immediately after the Olympic postponement have raised questions in parliament and among citizens about whether Japan understated the extent of the outbreak and delayed enforcement of social distancing measures while clinging to hopes that the games would start on July 24 as scheduled.
With the Olympics now off, many are voicing suspicion that the numbers are rising because Japan suddenly has no reason to hide them.
“In order to make an impression that the city was taking control of the coronavirus, Tokyo avoided making strict requests and made the number of patients look smaller," former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said in a tweet. “The coronavirus has spread while they waited. (For Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike) it was Olympics first, not Tokyo's residents.”
Experts have found a rise of untraceable cases mushrooming in Tokyo, Osaka and other urban areas — signs of an explosive increase in infections.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday that Japan is now on the brink of a huge jump in cases as it becomes increasingly difficult to trace and keep clusters under control.
“Once infections overshoot, our strategy ... will instantly fall apart,” Abe warned. “Under the current situation, we are just barely holding up.” He said a state of emergency is not needed just yet, but that Japan could at any time face a situation as bad as in...