SoftBank’s Son Joins Growing Calls Opposing Tokyo Olympic Games

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Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder and top executive of SoftBank Group Corp., joined growing criticism of the plan to hold the Tokyo Olympics this summer as scheduled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Now, more than 80% of the people want to postpone or call off the Olympics. Who is going to push for it, with what rights?” Son, known as an outspoken business leader, tweeted on Saturday. His comments came hours after a top official of International Olympic Committee said the Games can be held even if the city remains under a state of coronavirus emergency, according to Kyodo.

Organizers have come under fire for pressing ahead with the event under a pandemic, and critics’ voices have grown louder. The country’s slow vaccine rollout and the spread of variants is adding to fears that new virus mutations could be imported because of the Games and worsen the already-strained medical system.

Son’s statement also mirrors concerns expressed by other Japanese business leaders. Earlier this month, Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and chief executive of Japanese online retailer Rakuten Group Inc., called the Tokyo Olympics a “suicide mission” and said in an interview with CNN that the event should not be held this year.

About 82% of people surveyed in Japan over May 15 to 16 said it would be better to postpone the Tokyo Olympics and the Paralympics again or to cancel the events, while only 15% said they supported the decision to hold the event in July, according to a poll conducted by broadcaster ANN.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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