A group representing the homeless is asking to use the Athletes’ Village for next year’s Tokyo Olympics as a shelter during the coronavirus pandemic.
An online petition addressed to Tokyo Olympic organisers and the city government has drawn tens of thousands of signatures for permission to occupy the massive housing complex going up alongside Tokyo Bay.
The village was to be home to 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympic athletes.
It is largely complete and empty with the Olympic opening postponed by the virus outbreak until July 23, 2021.
“We don’t know how long this downturn will last, and so we have to change how we think,” said Ren Ohnishi, chairperson of the Moyai Support Center for Independent Living.
“That includes how we work, how we deal with housing, how we give aid to those who need it.”
Tokyo Olympics organisers declined comment, and the Tokyo metropolitan government also had no immediate comment on the petition.