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Olympic minister says Games didn't cause Japan's COVID infection surge

Japan's Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Tamayo Marukawa (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Despite a surge in coronavirus infections during Japan's hosting of the Olympic Games, the country's Olympic minister on Aug. 10 rejected the idea that the international sporting event exacerbated Japan's situation by pointing to thorough prevention measures taken by Games-affiliated personnel.

    Speaking at an Aug. 10 press conference after a Cabinet meeting, Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Tamayo Marukawa said, "I don't think the Olympics caused infections to spread."

    The minister also hailed the Games' popularity, and cited Kanto region (including the greater Tokyo area) average household viewer ratings of 56.4% for the opening ceremony and over 20% for events including the softball final to state that "many at home watched the athletes in action every day."

    Marukawa said that 151 Games-affiliated people from overseas had tested positive for the virus as of Aug. 9, and emphasized that thorough measures were taken: "When someone tested positive, they were transported to treatment facilities and other institutions. People they had close contact with were swiftly identified and quarantined."

    Japan recorded about 4,200 daily new infections on July 23 -- the day of the Games' opening ceremony -- but new figure ballooned to 12,073 on Aug. 9, marking the seventh consecutive day for the number to top 10,000.

    (Japanese original by Akira Matsumoto, Sports News Department)

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