Tokyo News: Tokyo Olympics looks set to be held without overseas spectators
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
According to various sources, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics look set to be held without overseas spectators. At the moment, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) isn’t confirming this. However, with the coronavirus (Covid-19) State of Emergency covering the Tokyo environs continuing – and with the majority of people in Japan appearing to be opposed to loosening international travel with such numbers so quickly – then the writing appears to be on the wall.
Indeed, with more coronavirus variants being found in Japan and the slow internal vaccination program, it seems that the Japanese government is left with few options. Yesterday, Tokyo reached the grim milestone of 1,500 coronavirus deaths.
It is understood that the government of Japan will discuss the exclusion of spectators from overseas next week with the IOC and the internal committee. However, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga knows that holding the Olympics is already unpopular given the coronavirus situation – not to mention the economic angle. Therefore, the government of Japan is viewing the non-participation of overseas spectators as being a fudge to placate internal discontent.
Irrespective of the final outcome of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, it is abundantly clear that the loss of the international angle equates to “a shadow Olympics.” Indeed, with 2.6 million international coronavirus deaths and new variants emerging all the time, the Olympics and Paralympics are only significant to sportspeople, capitalists with heavy investments, and the IOC.
Many people in Japan are struggling because of the impact of the coronavirus crisis concerning economics, psychological issues, and the longevity of the crisis. Of course, this applies internationally because many countries have been hit extremely hard in terms of deaths, economic activity, and social issues. Hence, the cost of the Olympics during such a crisis is exorbitant to an extreme. Therefore, the risks attached to allowing overseas spectators are a burden too high.
Similarly, the government of Japan should judge the same criteria with the same fairness in tackling internal spectators.
Overall, the Olympics and Paralympics remain unpopular for many in Japan based on the coronavirus crisis and the huge costs spent on a spectacle that isn’t needed at the moment. Hence, even if the Olympics and Paralympics go ahead, they are shells already!
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