Tokyo Olympics Plowing Forward Despite Opposition

    • The International Olympic Committee said the Summer Olympics will happen even if Tokyo is under a state of emergency.
    • The idea of holding the Olympic Games is increasingly unpopular in Japan, due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

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The International Olympic Committee is increasingly isolated in its stance that the Tokyo Olympics should start as planned on July 23. 

Originally scheduled for 2020, postponing the games cost the IOC an estimated $800 million, and the total tab for the event could hit $25 billion.

John Coates, vice president of the IOC, said that the games would go on, even if Tokyo were under a state of emergency due to the pandemic.

That’s unwelcome news to many:

  • A recent poll in Japan found that 83% of the population think the games should be canceled (43%) or postponed (40%). 
  • Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani have both said that holding the games is not worth the loss of life and long-term stagnation that could come from an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
  • In April, high-ranking Japanese politician Toshihiro Nikai floated the possibility that the games could still be canceled.
  • Tennis stars Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal, and Kei Nishikori have voiced concerns about attending. Serena Williams said she won’t attend if protocols prevent her from bringing her 3-year-old daughter.

The IOC has already banned foreign spectators from attending, and is considering holding the games entirely without crowds. 

COVID-19 cases have spiked in the Japanese archipelago over the last month. The seven-day average as of Sunday sat at 5,272 new cases per day.