TOKYO (AP) – Public opinion is against the holding of the Tokyo Olympics. Japan’s medical community is also opposed. The government’s top medical adviser, Shigeru Omi, said it was “abnormal” to hold the Olympic joust during a pandemic. And so far only 5% of Japanese have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The medical journal The Lancet warned about the risks posed by the arrival of 100,000 people from abroad and criticized the World Health Organization and other health organizations for not taking clearer positions. The New England Journal of Medicine stated that the International Olympic Committee’s decision to hold the joust “is not based on the best scientific evidence.”RELATED
Many Japanese dailies, including the second-largest newspaper, called for the cancellation of the games.
How, then, is it that the IOC and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government are going ahead, ignoring all these factors?
Basically, there is a Contract with the Host City whereby the IOC is the only one who can cancel the event. If Japan does, it must compensate the IOC. The Olympic body is unlikely to sue a host city, but there would surely be a compensation agreement behind closed doors.
On the other hand, there are billions of dollars at stake. Japan officially invested $ 15.4 billion, although government audits say the sum would be double. And the advertising agency Dentsu, vital in the campaign to win the 2013 headquarters, raised more than $ 3 billion in local sponsorships.
Some estimate th at cancellation would cost the IOC between $ 3 billion and $ 4 billion in broadcasting rights, representing 91% of its revenue.
Foreign fans have been banned from stadiums and it will be announced soon if there will be a local crowd.
The Associated Press sought opinions from people inside and outside of Japan about the fair, which is due to begin on July 23.
“It is like a player who has lost too much and continues to bet. Withdrawing now would confirm the enormous losses suffered, but if he continues, he clings to the hope of recovering everything. ”
—Koichi Nakano, professor of political science at Sofia University.
“The city that organizes the games cedes all power to the IOC. The Olympic movement has had 120 years to seduce people, and it has done so with great success. The IOC is beyond the reach of the supervisory bodies and even the governments of the host countries. It may violate the human rights protections of countries with immunity, including the right of athletes to go to local courts ”.
—Helen Jefferson Lenskyj, sociologist, author of “The Olympic Games: A Critical Approach.”
“From what I hear, the government agent was told that the games must be held and that is her only goal, for better or for worse. They hope to be able to play the joust with few obstacles. Politicians are aware of the risks, but hope that once the games start, the Japanese public will forget how it got here. “
—Aki Tonami, professor of political science at the University of Tsukuba.
“The IOC is an elitist club that receives support from other elites and from people – and countries – who aspire to join that elite. It is the organization on which most of the international sports federations and national Olympic committees depend for their financing ”.
—John Horne, sociologist at Waseda University, author with Garry Whannel of “Understanding the Olympics.”
“The political opposition is so weak that the government can do whatever it wants. And he hopes that when the games start, public opinion will support them. “
—Gill Steel, professor of political science at Doshisha University.
“There will be a lot of people (television, etc.) who will try to put on a good show. (The organizers) They will have the wind in their favor if there is not a sharp increase in deaths from COVID and no tragedy associated with the heat.
—David Leheny, professor of political science at Waseda University.
“If there is a catastrophe, with a large increase in coronavirus infections, it will not be the responsibility of the IOC. It will be the Japanese government that has to be held accountable ”.
—Ryu Homma, writer, former advertising executive.
Yuri Kageyama contributed to this dispatch.