Japan mutes 5,000 Olympic spectator cap: Covid-19 upturn in Tokyo and IOC privilege 

Japan mutes 5,000 Olympic spectator cap: Covid-19 upturn in Tokyo and IOC privilege 

Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi

Modern Tokyo Times

The daily upturn in new coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in Tokyo is limiting the desire of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of allowing more spectators at sporting venues. Thus, the 10,000 spectator goal – providing this figure isn’t over 50 percent of the sporting capacity for the respective Olympic sporting venue – now seems set to be reduced to 5,000 spectators. 

In Tokyo, the daily week-on-week increase of coronavirus (Covid-19) in Tokyo reached 17 consecutive days. This is extremely worrying for the Tokyo Olympics that will start in just over two weeks. It should also be stated that in recent weeks Osaka is doing more daily PCR tests than Tokyo despite its population being much smaller – so the coronavirus situation in Tokyo might be worse than reported.

Suga, Koike, and the IOC know that the majority of people in Japan are opposed to holding the Olympics. This concerns the ongoing coronavirus crisis and new variants that are highly contagious. Likewise, Japanese and international athletes know that the Olympics are unpopular. Despite this, the Olympics will begin in just over two weeks because the views of ordinary people don’t count – unlike using their taxes. 

Suga understands that his political leadership is under threat internally within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Hence, with a future general election on the horizon, Suga knows that he must appear to take the views of the electorate on board. 

Thus the number of spectators allowed at Olympic venues is undecided because Suga deems this approach to be listening to the people of Japan. Yet, in reality, Suga took the postponement or cancellation of the Olympics off the table many months ago despite public opposition to the Olympics.

Lee Jay Walker says, “The situation currently is that all ordinary international spectators are banned. Of course, this doesn’t apply to individuals tied to the IOC, privileged international politicians, and other hangers-on. Therefore, it seems that Japanese taxes spent by the central government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government are aimed at an increasingly diluted number of people – including giving special status to privileged people in Japan and internationally.” 

International coronavirus deaths have now reached 4 million officially and new highly contagious variants are causing alarm. However, for the IOC, the Olympics must go ahead at all costs.

Deaths from coronavirus in Japan this year are much higher than in 2020. Yet the Olympics will soon take place for the privileged, corporate sponsors, people connected to IOC members, and others utilizing the political gravy train. Therefore, wranglings over 10,000 or 5,000 ordinary spectators – or no spectators – are extremely superficial because privileged Japanese and international individuals will be allowed to view the Olympics unless armageddon happens. 

https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/en/ – Tokyo Metropolitan Government website for updates about the coronavirus crisis in Tokyo.

https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html – Japan and Tokyo Covid-19 news with more analysis

https://covid19japan.com/ – Japan regional coronavirus statistics

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ World coronavirus statistics

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