Former Olympian says Tokyo has been ‘cornered’ into hosting games

TOKYO — Tokyo has been “cornered” into holding the games throughout the coronavirus pandemic, one in every of Japan’s best-known Olympians and an govt member of the Japanese Olympic Committee stated in an outspoken editorial revealed Friday.

Kaori Yamaguchi stated the International Olympic Committee, the federal government and native organizers are ignoring widespread opposition to the games from the Japanese public.

Depending on how the query is phrased in numerous polls, between 50-80% of Japanese folks oppose holding the Olympics.

“We have been cornered into a situation where we cannot even stop now. We are damned if we do, and damned if we do not,” Yamaguchi wrote in an editorial revealed by Japan’s Kyodo information company. “The IOC also seems to think that public opinion in Japan is not important.”

Yamaguchi gained a bronze medal in judo on the 1988 Seoul Olympics and can also be a former world champion. She teaches on the University of Tsukuba.

“What will these Olympics be for, and for whom?” she requested. “The games have already lost meaning and are being held just for the sake of them. I believe we have already missed the opportunity to cancel.”

Japan has formally spent $15.4 billion to prepare the Tokyo Olympics, and authorities audits say it might be twice that.

The Switzerland-based IOC derives virtually 75% of its revenue from promoting broadcast rights. Its revenue has been stalled because the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, and estimates counsel it might lose $3 billion-$4 billion in broadcast revenue if the games had been canceled.

The National Stadium, the main venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is seen on the day marking 50 days to go.
The National Stadium, the principle venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is seen on the day marking 50 days to go.
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Fans from abroad have already been banned for the Tokyo Olympics.

In her weekly briefing on Friday, organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto stated organizers would observe authorities steerage on having any native followers. That determination was anticipated on June 20 when the current state of emergency in Tokyo expires.

Kengo Sakurada, head of the affiliation of company executives in Japan, stated Thursday that no followers ought to be allowed.

“Many people are feeling extremely uneasy about the safety of holding the Olympics,” he stated. “Even if the infections slowed, no fans should be the rule.”

Hashimoto was requested if the Olympics had been 100% sure to happen. The IOC and organizers have stated they’ll and venues are actually being arrange for the Olympics to open on July 23.

Senior IOC member Richard Pound stated final week it might take “Armageddon” to cease the games.

A portrait of Kaori Yamaguchi, a former bronze medalist and member of the Olympic committee.
A portrait of Kaori Yamaguchi, a former bronze medalist and member of the Olympic committee.
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IOC vp John Coates stated a number of weeks in the past that the Olympics would go forward if there have been a state of emergency.

Hashimoto hedged, barely.

“Whether it’s 100% or not, well, I have been receiving this question many times,” Hashimoto stated. “If the IOC judges, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government judges, that it is difficult, then it is also our mission to respond to such judgment.”

She additionally stated that the go to by IOC President Thomas Bach, which was introduced for July 12 by Coates, was now unsure.

“Nothing is decided,” she stated.

Bach’s scheduled go to to Hiroshima in May was referred to as off as a result of many elements Japan had been below a state of emergency.

The IOC’s plan is to get 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from greater than 200 nations and territories into Tokyo, sequester them in a bubble on the Olympic Village, allow them to compete after which get them out of Japan inside two days of their end.

Tens of 1000’s of others will even enter: coaches, judges, officers, broadcasters, media and members of the so-called Olympic Family.

“Sports we know is one big industry now,” Hashimoto stated. “But even with these industrialized games, there are athletes, pure athletes out there who have been doing everything to prepare for these games. For us, providing an arena for these athletes to show what they have been doing is also another mission of the Tokyo Olympics.”

Dr. Shigeru Omi, a prime medical adviser for the Japanese authorities and a former World Health Organization regional director, is placing Primer Minister Yoshihide Suga below growing stress to elucidate why the Olympics ought to happen.

Speaking in a parliamentary session on Thursday, he stated “holding the games in the middle of the pandemic is abnormal.” On Friday, additionally in parliament, he stated holding the Olympics if there have been nonetheless a state of emergency in place “should be avoided.”

“It is crucial that we must not let the Olympics trigger a flow of people,” Omi stated Friday.

Japan has attributed about 13,000 deaths to COVID-19, and fewer than 3% of the inhabitants has been fully vaccinated in a very slow rollout.

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