About 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers who had stepped forward to help with next month’s Tokyo Olympics have quit, the chief executive of the Games’ organizing committee said on Wednesday, amid rising worries about holding the event during the pandemic.
The chief executive, Toshiro Muto, told reporters that there was “no doubt” that volunteers were worried about becoming infected with the coronavirus, while some who quit cited personal reasons. About 1,000 volunteers withdrew in late February after Yoshiro Mori, who was then the organizing committee’s chairman, said that “Women talk too much in meetings.”
Mr. Muto said that there were still enough volunteers to assist with the Olympics and Paralympics, and that operations for both events would not be affected, since they have been streamlined.
Katsunobu Kato, the chief cabinet secretary, confirmed Mr. Muto’s announcement on Thursday.
“I expect the organizing committee to take through anti infection measures for volunteers,” Mr. Kato said, “and they need to respond carefully to volunteers as well as Japanese people in regards to concrete infection prevention measures.”
The withdrawals were another indication of the Japanese public’s opposition to these Olympics, which were rescheduled from last year because of the pandemic. A recent poll found that more than 80 percent of people in Japan did not want Tokyo to host the Games.
Tokyo and other parts of the country are under a state of emergency as Japan battles a fourth wave of the coronavirus. Less than 3 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates among industrialized nations, and many Japanese people believe that the Olympics have become a distraction.