The Olympics is supposed to go ahead on 23 July. In a country where less than 1% of people have been fully vaccinated and just over 1% of people have had their first vaccination.
When Tokyo was selected to host the 2020 Olympic games – we were so excited. Tokyo first hosted the Olympics in 1964. We’ll be the first city in the Asia Pacific to host the summer Olympics twice. We’ve also hosted the winter Olympics twice – in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano 1998. We’re really proud to have done this and to have welcomed the world to our beautiful country. We love the Olympics. But.
A number of different polls have been carried out by various agencies in recent weeks. They all say the same thing. The vast majority of people in Japan don’t think the Olympics should be held this year because of fears about the coronavirus. These results are bad news for the Tokyo organisers and the International Olympic Committee as they continue to insist the Olympics will go ahead on 23 July.
Right now, Tokyo is battling a surge of COVID-19 infections that has prompted reports that Tokyo’s governor is going to ask the Prime Minister to declare yet another state of emergency.
It’s not only the coronavirus that has had a dampening effect on the attitudes of Japanese people toward the Olympics. There’s been scandal after scandal including the amount of public money that’s been spent, the horrific stories that have come out about the treatment of labourers working on Olympic projects and for Olympic partner companies, and the awful sexist comments of senior members of the Olympic organisers here in Japan.
The coronavirus, alongside these other issues, has meant that the usual excitement around the Olympics has not materialised.
I understand that a lot of money is at stake and I am a huge sports fan myself, but I think so many questions still need proper answers before the Olympics can be safely held in Japan.
I worry about my beautiful country and its people.
Guest author, Takashi Sakai, is born, bred and resident in Tokyo. Takashi is a self-confessed nerd who loves anime, sports and 80s pop music. Takashi specialises in teaching English to students of all ages and has particular expertise in English/Japanese translation of urban language and slang.