Photo/Illutration The National Diet building in Tokyo (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

The opposition camp called on the government and ruling parties to convene an extraordinary Diet session before the Tokyo Olympics kick off on July 23, but the request was expected to fall on deaf ears.

The July 8 request came immediately after the Suga administration's decision to implement a fourth state of emergency for the capital to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four opposition parties blasted the government for forging ahead with the Games while a state of emergency exists, complaining that doing so goes against all steps taken to date to bring the health crisis under control.

They said the event should be canceled, or at least postponed.

“We maintained that the lifting of the (earlier) state of emergency was too early and opposed it strongly, but the government lifted it anyway on June 20 and then declared another emergency just three weeks later,” Yukio Edano, the leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), told reporters July 8.

“The government has made the same mistakes repeatedly without any attempts or efforts to do more,” he said. “I can’t help but say the government is severely lacking in ability or is unfit to hold the reins of power.”

During a debate between party leaders on June 9, Edano warned that the number of infection cases would rebound if the emergency was lifted before the figures had dropped significantly.

Jun Azumi, the Diet affairs chief of the CDP, met with Hiroshi Moriyama, his counterpart in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on July 8 to call for extraordinary Diet session to be convened before or during the Olympics.

The opposition parties plan to file a request for International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to be summoned to the Diet to face questioning.

“We are not in a situation to warmly welcome him by waving small flags,” Azumi told reporters. “We have to question him on his decision that it is OK to go ahead with the Games.”

Moriyama replied that the LDP would consider the request for a Diet session, but is widely expected to drop the matter.

“The government should negotiate with the IOC to demand that the Games be canceled, or at least postponed,” Edano said.

Kazuo Shii, head of the Japanese Communist Party, also called for the Games to be canceled, saying, “It is out of the question to hold the Olympics under a state of emergency.”

He noted that sports and summer festivals have been canceled around the country, “but only the Olympics will be held.”

Such contradictory policies will never win the cooperation of the public, he warned.

Yuichiro Tamaki, who heads the opposition Democratic Party for the People, was also scathing.

“While the number of medals will be reported every day, the rising number of infection cases, patients in a serious condition and fatalities from COVID-19 will also be reported,” he said. “The Japanese people won’t be manipulated (by the government). They are smarter than that.”