The possibilities of Japan to host a successful Olympic Games has been dealt a heavy blow after some towns are said to have abandoned plans to host Olympic athletes.
The towns are concerned they will be overburdened following a fourth wave of coronavirus infections according to the Nikkei newspaper reported on Thursday.
Forty of more than 500 towns registered to welcome international competitors had decided not to accept athletes for training camps and cultural exchanges before the global sporting showpiece, the newspaper reported, citing a government source.
The reluctance of some towns to host visiting athletes, normally a source of pride for communities outside the host city, is the latest sign of deep unease in Japan over the scheduling of the Games in the middle of a pandemic.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were postponed last year and are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8 despite a surge in infections and a state of emergency in the host city.