Japan determined to go ahead with Tokyo Olympics this summer . . .
Today, the Olympic torch relay began its 121-day journey to Tokyo, where the Olympics are scheduled to kick-off on July 23. The torch relay began in Fukushima to highlight the region’s recovery since the 2011 triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear plant meltdown), but the event is overshadowed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers are determined to push ahead with the Olympics this summer after it was postponed last year. At US$15.4 billion, the Tokyo Olympics will be the most expensive in history.
Over half in Japan want Tokyo Olympics postponed or cancelled . . .
Fearing the Olympics could become a super-spreader event, coupled with Japan’s lagging COVID vaccination effort, a recent poll found that only about 15 per cent of Japanese agree that the Tokyo Olympics should go ahead as planned. Those opposed frequently ask why athletes have access to COVID-19 tests while the public does not. While Japan is scrambling to gather public support for the Olympics, the country banned international spectators last week and is planning strict COVID-19 testing measures at competition sites. However, there is no plan to require vaccinations for the 15,440 participating athletes, let alone staff and local spectators.
International public opinion in similar . . .
While in 2020, Canada refused to send athletes to the Tokyo games due to risks associated with COVID-19, it seems set to send athletes this summer. The change of stance comes as daily COVID-19 case counts are higher both in Canada and Japan, but at a time when countries are better prepared to manage outbreaks. Despite progress in fighting the pandemic, a recently released Japan Press Research Institute survey found public opinion in the international community mirrors that of Japan, with 82 per cent of respondents in China and 74 per cent in the U.S. feeling the Olympics should be delayed or cancelled. But at this stage, every indication points to the Games going ahead.