Tokyo marked 100 days on Wednesday before the start of the postponed Olympic Games by holding two small ceremonies as the country is suffering a recurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statue of the two Tokyo Games mascots was unveiled at the metropolitan government building.
A giant Olympic symbol was also erected on top of Mt. Takao, about 60 kilometres away from the Tokyo city centre.
Both venues were connected online to ensure the statue and the Olympic rings were unveiled at the same time.
Tokyo governor Koike Yuriko said Tokyo would try hard to “stage a wonderful games” in 100 days.
Koike was joined at the ceremony in her office building by Endo Toshiaki, a vice-president of the Tokyo 2020 Organising committee and Yamashita Yasuhiro, the Japanese Olympic Committee president.
But neither Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto nor Japan’s Olympic Minister Marukawa Tamayo showed up at the events.
Osaka had been originally scheduled to hold a 100-day countdown ceremony when the Olympic torch relay takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
But the COVID-19 situation has worsened since late March, and the Olympic torch relay was forced to be held in its Expo’70 Commemorative Park behind closed doors.
On Tuesday, Osaka prefecture reported a record 1,099 new COVID-19 infections, surpassing the previous high of 918 logged on Saturday, while Tokyo confirmed 510 cases.
The Tokyo metropolitan government also announced it would illuminate symbolic venues of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and other landmark buildings.
This will be done to mark the 100-day countdown as a “tribute to medical service workers fighting against the coronavirus and build momentum for the games.”
According to a recent poll conducted by Japan’s Kyodo news agency, more than 70 percent of people in Japan want the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled or postponed again.
Only 24.5 percent of respondents want the Olympics to be held as scheduled.