Koike and pointless Olympics: No foreign spectators to no outdoor viewing events in Tokyo

Koike and pointless Olympics: No foreign spectators to no outdoor viewing events in Tokyo

Sawako Utsumi and Sawako Uchida

Modern Tokyo Times

The latest ending of the State of Emergency in Japan concerning the coronavirus (Covid-19) will be replaced by past failed quasi measures. Hence, the coronavirus crisis is haunting the Olympics. Of course, the internal coronavirus crisis in Japan is magnified when it comes to over 3.8 million deaths internationally. Therefore, the planned holding of the Olympics in Tokyo remains unpopular throughout Japan – to one of little interest.

After all, it is a hard sell for the Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to market such an unpopular and unwarranted international event given the ongoing coronavirus convulsions. On top of this, new variants are causing alarm in nations with high coronavirus vaccine rates compared with the slow program in Japan. 

Despite this, Koike, Suga, and the IOC remain adamant that the Olympics and Paralympics will take place in Tokyo. Thus, fears about the Olympics being a super spreader, anger at healthy athletes getting vaccines before vulnerable groups, spending vast sums on the games at a time of growing hardship in Japan – and other important factors – have all been brushed aside by Koike, Suga, and the IOC.

Bizarrely, with Koike now banning all outdoor public viewing events because of warnings by high-ranking medical advisors – and knowing that foreign spectators are banned from watching the Olympics in Japan – the Governor of Tokyo still claims that the games will be a “success.” 

Koike said, “I believe various measures are needed (such as canceling public viewing) in order to ensure the Tokyo Olympics are a success.”

However, Koike fully knows that coronavirus deaths in 2021 in Japan are much higher than the whole of 2020. She equally understands the enormous burden put on the health care sector. Hence, with foreign spectators being banned and now all public outdoor viewing events in Tokyo, it seems bizarre that Koike still supports the Olympics and believes that they will be “a success.”

Shigeru Omi, the most important government health adviser in Japan, remains adamant that the risks are high in holding the Olympics. He said, “Holding with Games without spectators is the least risky option and we think desirable.”

Lee Jay Walker says, “Koike seems to be playing a political game of dice that is manageable if the virus spreads. Hence, with Koike knowing that Suga supports the Olympics at all costs, she can make the prime minister make all the more risky decisions by himself. Therefore, if the coronavirus increases in Tokyo during the games, new variants enter the country, and deaths are reported because of linkages to the Olympics – Koike can claim that she took precautionary measures in line with Omi’s view”

Lee Jay Walker continues, Similarly, if Suga allows Japanese spectators in high numbers and it backfires, the responsibility will fall on the shoulders of the prime minister and not Koike. Thus Koike’s support of the Olympics – while distancing herself from more dangerous angles – represents the Tokyo Governor playing clever dice as opposed to Suga’s more dangerous game of dice.”

Overall, according to various polls, the Olympics remain unpopular in Japan. Indeed, interest is limited outside of sporting fanatics who are brushing aside angles concerning the coronavirus. Therefore, given the prevailing international coronavirus conditions – and in the knowledge that foreign spectators and outdoor viewing events have now been banned in Tokyo – the games have become a farce, albeit a dangerous and expensive farce.

Thus Koike’s claim that the games will be “a success” is bizarre given all the risks involved. Likewise, the prevailing conditions of holding the games are evidence that the games will be soulless.

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