Negative Japanese sentiment and high infection rate threaten the Olympics : ‘We will hold the Olympics, no matter what the corona situation looks like’Negative Japanese sentiment and high infection rate threaten the Olympics : ‘We will hold the Olympics, no matter what the corona situation looks like’Negative Japanese sentiment and high infection rate threaten the Olympics : ‘We will hold the Olympics, no matter what the corona situation looks like’
Japan continues to struggle with a new wave of corona infections. With a record number of new cases of infection in January in Japan, the mood around the upcoming Olympics is not exactly overwhelmingly positive.
On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended the country’s restrictions to 7 March. It comes after heavy pressure on the Japanese healthcare system due to record numbers of corona cases in January.
But the chairman of Japan’s organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, assures that the Olympic Games will take place.
“We are holding the Olympics , no matter what the corona situation looks like,” he told Reuters.
He states that the focus should not be on whether the games are held, but rather on how the games can be held under safe conditions.
– We must consider new opportunities to host the Olympics , says Mori.
Opinion polls among the Japanese people on whether the games should be held go in only one direction, and popular sentiment is predominantly negative.
The latest poll in the Japanese Kyodo News shows that 80 percent of Japanese surveyed believe the games should not be held this summer. They will either have the pre- postponed Olympics further postponed or completely and utterly canceled.
Planning must continue
The president of the International Olympic Committee ( IOC ), Thomas Bach, has reiterated the mantra that the Olympic Games are the light at the end of the dark tunnel that the corona pandemic is.
But the closer the games get, the more unlikely the IOC president’s mantra sounds . As early as the beginning of January, the Japanese imposed strict restrictions in the hope of eradicating high infection rates in Tokyo and three other Japanese regions .
Those restrictions now stand to be extended to March because the coronas infection is still ravaging the Japanese capital, which stands to host the 171-day Olympic Games.
But the Japanese authorities and the IOC are adamant in their belief that the Games will take place.
– We will do whatever it takes to organize a safe Olympics . Everyone will love having full stadium and cheering fans. But if that is not possible, we will respect our principles. And it’s a safe organization of the games. That is the first priority.
– Our task is to host the Olympics , not cancel it, says IOC President Thomas Bach.
But with 171 days until the official opening of the Games, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga points out that the task for Japan is to continue planning the Olympic Games.
“In this time of covid-19, there are many positions, but we are moving forward with the preparations, and Thomas Bach expressed his full support, and we are grateful for that,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at a news conference on Thursday.
The Japanese are not blind to the challenge that the corona pandemic poses to the Games, which is why the Prime Minister also said on Thursday that an Olympics without fans in the stadium is something that is part of the considerations leading up to the summer.
– We have made all possible simulations. Basically, I do not think the games without spectators are something that will happen, nor something I would like, says the Japanese Prime Minister .