Japan investigates subway death reportedly involving senior Olympic official


Tokyo police said they are investigating a deadly incident on the city’s subway, which media reports said involved a senior official at the Japanese Olympic Committee.

Private broadcaster Nippon Television, citing metropolitan police sources, identified the person as accounting manager Yasushi Moriya, 52, and said his death was being treated as a suspected suicide.

The police are investigating, said a police spokesperson, who did not elaborate. A JOC representative said the committee was collecting information but did not give further details.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation said a man fell on the tracks at around 9:30 a.m. at Nakanobu station on the Toei Asakusa Line in the Japanese capital but did not name Moriya.

The man was removed from the tracks about 30 minutes later and transported  to a nearby hospital, the bureau said. He died approximately two hours later.

News of the incident was one of the top trending topics on Twitter in Japan. Already postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Games is scheduled to begin on July 23 in the face of public concerns that authorities can hold the event and keep the Japanese public safe from the spread of COIVD-19.

$15.4 billion US spent on Olympics?

Tokyo is under a COVID-19 state of emergency, but International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates has said the games will open as scheduled — state of emergency, or no state of emergency.

So the Olympics are barreling ahead. But why?

Start with billions of dollars at stake, a contract that overwhelmingly favours the IOC, and a decision by the Japanese government to stay the course, which might help Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga keep his job.

Japan has officially spent $15.4 billion US on the Olympics, but several government audits suggest it’s much more. All but $6.7 billion is public money. Geopolitical rival China is to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics just six months after Tokyo ends, and could claim centre tage should Tokyo fail.

An online petition demanding cancellation gathered about 400,000 signatures in a few weeks, but several street protests have mostly fizzled. Depending on how the question is phrased, 50-80 per cent oppose the Games opening.

WATCH | Canadian Olympic leader comfortable with COVID-19 protocols:

Marnie McBean tells Power & Politics she is confident that Team Canada’s safety protocols will protect both the athletes and the people of Tokyo. 6:32

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