TOKYO: Dozens of people gathered in front of the Japanese Prime Minister's residence in Tokyo on Thursday to protest against the ongoing Olympic Games, as new coronavirus cases broke the country's records for the third straight day.
The protesters claimed that hosting the international sports event was one of the main reasons behind the rise in cases.
Tokyo reported 3,865 new cases up from 3,177 on Wednesday and double the numbers from a week ago, setting an all-time high since the pandemic began early last year.
Japan has kept its cases and deaths lower than many other countries, but its seven-day rolling average is growing and case numbers now stand at 28 per 100,000 people nationwide, with 88 in 100,000 in Tokyo, according to the Health Ministry.
This compares to 18.5 in the United States, 48 in Britain and 2.8 in India, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Experts have said if the situation doesn't improve, the medical system will be under pressure with those that need to be hospitalized not being able to do so.
Tokyo has been under its fourth state of emergency since July 12, ahead of the Olympics, which began last Friday despite widespread public opposition and concern that they Games could worsen the outbreak.
Alarmed by the surge in Tokyo, the governors of three prefectures adjacent to the capital said they plan to ask Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to place their areas under the state of emergency too.
Nationwide, Japan reported more than 9,500 confirmed cases, a new record, on Wednesday for a total of about 892,000, with about 15,000 deaths.
As of Wednesday, 26.3% of the Japanese population have been fully vaccinated, according to officials.
The percentage of the elderly who are fully vaccinated is 70%, or 24.8 million people.