Tokyo Olympics organizers are moving forward with plans to hold the games despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and touting the potential unifying nature of the event as protestors in Japan push back.
Sticker shock: According to an audit by the Japanese government, the Tokyo Games’ original price tag of $7.3 billion is now nearly $30 billion, with all but around $5 billion coming from public funding.
IOC President Thomas Bach said on Nov. 22 that his organization will play an important role in pushing a COVID-19 vaccination globally. He previously said the IOC will encourage all athletes and spectators to get vaccinated before arriving, should a vaccine be available, but will not make it mandatory.
During his visit to Tokyo last week, however, Bach was followed by anti-Olympics activists who hit the streets with signs urging the games be canceled. On top of the ongoing pandemic and increasing costs, the 2021 Games — much like the 1964 Tokyo Olympics — have displaced residents from public housing.
Recent data suggests much of the Japanese public feels similarly:
- A poll by TV Asahi this month found that almost 60% of respondents wanted the Tokyo Olympics to be either postponed or canceled.
- A Kyodo News poll found around 36% of respondents thought the games should be further postponed; 34% preferred outright cancellation.