Japanese actor-turned-politician Tarō Yamamoto tweeted on Monday to officially announce his candidacy to become the next governor of Tokyo. If elected, Yamamoto has said he will make the Tokyo Olympics a priority, although not in the way sports fans around the world would prefer. Instead of supporting the Games, Yamamoto has pledged to cancel next summer’s Olympics and Paralympics, as reported by Inside the Games. In his tweet, he wrote, “Even in this period, politics still don’t give people relief.” Yamamoto said he can help Tokyo citizens, and one of his first steps in doing so would be to cancel the Olympic Games, relieving the city of that burden.
— れいわ 山本太郎 住まいは権利！ (@yamamototaro0) June 15, 2020
The campaigns to determine the governor of Tokyo began on Thursday, and the election is just under a month away, set for July 5. In total, there are 22 candidates running for the job, including the current governor of the Japanese capital, Yuriko Koike. According to Kyodo News, the fate of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be a big focus for many of the candidates.
Yamamoto has said the Olympics “are nothing but festivities for businesses that can just be cancelled.” If there is no vaccine for COVID-19, he said there’s no way for Tokyo to host the Games.
Another candidate is Kenji Utsunomiya, who has run for the role of governor twice before, finishing second in both elections. Like Yamamoto, he has said an Olympic cancellation could be a priority if public health experts advise him to do so and apply the funds to citizens affected by COVID-19.
Governor Koike has said she doesn’t think the Olympics or Paralympics will need to be cancelled, and she believes that Tokyo will be fully capable of hosting the Games by July 2021.