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10,000 volunteers drop out; Tokyo Olympics open in 50 days

A plane carrying the Olympic flame arrives before Olympic Flame Arrival Ceremony at Japan Air...
A plane carrying the Olympic flame arrives before Olympic Flame Arrival Ceremony at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Matsushima Base in Higashimatsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, north of Tokyo, Friday, March 20, 2020. The Olympic flame from Greece is set to arrive in Japan even as the opening of the the Tokyo Games in four months is in doubt with more voices suggesting the games should to be postponed or canceled because of the worldwide virus pandemic. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)(Eugene Hoshiko | AP)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 3:07 PM EDT
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(AP) - About 10,000 of 80,000 unpaid volunteers for the Tokyo Olympics have told organizers they will not participate when the games open on July 23. Organizers say some dropped out because of worries about COVID-19.

Few volunteers are expected to be vaccinated since most will not have contact with athletes or other key personnel. Only about 2-3% of Japan’s general population has been fully vaccinated.

Unpaid volunteers are a key workforce in running the Olympics and save organizers millions of dollars in salaries. Volunteers typically get a uniform, meals on the day they work, and have daily commuting costs covered.

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