The 118-year-old dean of humanity was to carry the torch of the Tokyo Games. But covid-19 disrupted his plans.
The oldest person in the world, a 118-year-old Japanese woman, will not finally participate in the Olympic torch relay at the Tokyo Olympics due to an increase in Covid-19 cases in the country, her family announced on Friday . Kane Tanaka, who lives in Fukuoka in southern Japan, had planned to carry the torch on his wheelchair when the relay passed through his town on Tuesday. But in a statement obtained by AFP, her family finally announced that they would not participate in the demonstration because “the spread of the coronavirus has not been contained”.
“The retirement home where Kane resides has banned visitation to prevent the spread of germs and has so far been successful in ensuring the safety of its residents,” said the family of the Dean of Humanity. Considering the current situation, it is very, very unfortunate, but we have decided that Kane Tanaka will not participate in the torch relay, ”added his relatives. The family said they were eagerly awaiting this “precious and rare” opportunity and wished Tanaka’s participation was an inspiration to the audience.
Born the same year as Fernandel
Tanaka was born on January 2, 1903, the same year as British writer George Orwell or actor Fernandel. That year, the Wright brothers made the first powered flight and Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.
Since the start of the pandemic, the number of Covid-19 cases in Japan has remained limited compared to other regions of the world, with some 10,500 deaths since early 2020 for 125 million inhabitants. But vaccination is progressing very slowly, and some areas have experienced outbreaks of new infections.
The Japanese government and the organizers of the Olympic Games are working hard to ensure that the Olympics, scheduled for July 23 to August 8, will take place safely, despite polls showing the opposition of a large majority of the population. A petition has been circulating since Wednesday asking for the cancellation of the Games and has collected several hundred thousand signatures.