WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A Japanese Olympic Committee official committed suicide by jumping in front of a train on Monday in Tokyo.
- Yasushi Moriya, whose body was identified by his work identification card, headed the committee’s accounting department.
- The apparent suicide comes as the world games are set to open in July amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A high-ranking Japanese Olympic Committee official died after he jumped in front of a moving train on Monday in Tokyo. Yasushi Moriya’s body was identified by his work identification card.
According to Japanese broadcaster Nippon Television, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police is investigating his death, which they believe is an apparent suicide. The incident happened at about 9:30 a.m. local time at Nakanobu Station on the Toei Asakusa Line in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward. Moriya reportedly stepped off the platform in front of the train and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead a few hours later.
The official’s death comes just before Tokyo is set to host the Olympic Games on July 23. Moriya, 52, was the director of the committee’s accounting department.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo organizers postponed the Games by one year. Despite public opposition in Japan, the IOC gives it a green light.
The country’s vaccine rollout is painfully slow with roughly 3 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated.
Last week, JOC executive board member Kaori Yamaguchi questioned the IOC’s decision to continue with the event, saying the “Olympic Games have lost meaning.”
In a scathing editorial published by Kyodo News on Friday, she accused the IOC of “cornering” Japan into holding the Olympic games and acknowledged it was too late to cancel the event.
“What will these Olympics be for and for whom?” Yamaguchi added. “I believe we have already missed the opportunity to cancel. We are damned if we do, and damned if we do not.”
Days before Yamaguchi’s editorial, the organizing committee said 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers quit. They signed up to help during the Games and Paralympic Games.
During a virtual news conference in May, IOC vice president John Coates announced that the Olympics would proceed “even if Tokyo is still under a state of emergency.”
After a few weeks, liberal newspaper Asahi Shimbun called for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to hear the public’s opposition and “calmly and objectively assess the situation and decide on the cancelation of the event this summer.”