Tokyo Paralympics organisers plan to have students attend the Games despite the coronavirus delta variant spreading among teenagers and those even younger who are not vaccinated.
The organisers claim they are ready to welcome approximately 130,000-140,000 schoolchildren to the Paralympics in Tokyo despite opposition from education officials due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tokyo Organising Committee and the International Paralympic Committee also support the plan for student fans and argue it's important to have students view athletes with disabilities, which could change attitudes in a relatively conservative society like Japan.
"This generation is the one that will sustain our society in the future, and so we are absolutely passionate about providing this opportunity," Tokyo organising committee spokesman Masa Takaya said.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has also said she is pressing ahead to allow school children to attend the Paralympics, as long as parents and schools are supportive.
In an interview a few days ago, IPC President Andrew Parsons said:
"We endorse the initiative because we believe it is an important element of legacy by bringing school kids to the games,"
"But of course, it is imperative these kids must come to the games in a safe way."
Tokyo is under a state of emergency through Sept. 12.
About 40% of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated. Tokyo reported 5,074 new cases on Saturday. It marked the first time the capital has logged more than 5,000 cases for four consecutive days. Daily new cases have increased sharply since the Olympics opened on July 23.
AP reported that Tokyo recorded 4,392 new cases on Sunday. Japan has attributed about 15,500 deaths to COVID-19.
Hospital capacity in Tokyo has become so tight that those not deemed ill enough for hospital admission are getting oxygen supplied at home or at makeshift facilities set up for emergencies.