Estimated 10,000 Olympics Volunteers Back Out of Tokyo Games

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FILED - A sticker alters the Tokyo Games from 2020 to 2021 in the gym of German wrestler Frank Staebler. On Monday local organizers said the opening of the torch relay ahead of the Games would take place without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa
FILED - A sticker alters the Tokyo Games from 2020 to 2021 in the gym of German wrestler Frank Staebler. On Monday local organizers said the opening of the torch relay ahead of the Games would take place without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa

Around 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers initially selected to assist during the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo later this year have backed out, causing a new challenge for the hosting country, the the Japanese media reported on Wednesday, citing the CEO of the organizing committee, Toshiro Muto.

“There’s no doubt that one of the reasons is concern over coronavirus infections,” Muto said as quoted by Kyodo News.

According to Muto, some of the volunteers may have quit because of scheduling conflicts as the games had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

Because of the slow pace of vaccination and the growing number of variants of the virus in Japan, the Olympic and Paralympic events planners have been facing difficulty in mobilizing public support and persuading people that the events can be organized safely.

Out of the 10,000 volunteers that dropped out, about 1,000 were reported to have left because of a comment made by the former president of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori. Mori’s remark that women talk too much in meetings elicited widespread criticism and caused him to resign.

Initially, the organizing committee had recruited 80,000 volunteers from a pool of 200,000 applicants, who applied to serve as guides at venues and help with other operational activities.

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