The story of Tokyo and the Olympics
Only 7 days remaining until the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, let’s take a look at what is happening
This week, Covid cases in Tokyo are 55 percent higher than the week before. It is the 27th day in a row that the Delta variant has caused a week-over-week increase in the number of cases.
Yuriko Koike, Tokyo governor said the speed of increase is very rapid.
And there are five- and six-hour backups due to the maze of testing and protocols all incoming passengers should go through in logistical bottlenecks at airports. This situation has made the government ask airlines to stop new bookings. According to Japanese media, the number of non-Olympic passengers could be limited to 2,000 nationwide.
What do statistics say?
Meanwhile, as the government makes the bars shutter and reduces the hours of restaurants, and encourages locals to stay home, approval ratings in Tokyo for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s cabinet dropped to 28 percent and disapproval ratings increased to 63 percent.
Patrick Kinch, an analyst said that retailers who have made it through 2020 now have to rely on further government support to compensate for lost income and salaries due to continuing lockdown restrictions.
A data estimates the fans no being able to visit events will constitute an $800 million loss for the Tokyo organizing committee and one billion more will be missed out by ancillary businesses.
Japanese are aware of the tough situation.
According to the Japan News, 50 percent of Tokyo residents believe that the Olympics should still be canceled. A recent poll found almost 78 percent opposition nationwide, 73 percent of which believe the current state of emergency will not be effective and said continuing this big international event is crushing local businesses.
Koike said he wants people to have in mind the option of working remotely considering large number of infections at the workplace.
Tracings and testing show everything is at risk. Many different groups have been infected this week.
The U.S. men’s basketball team is already reorganizing their schedule due to Covid and the prolonged NBA Finals which is due to Covid too.
All 11,000 athletes will be required to live in lots of isolation to be able to compete. Other than that, everything is good.
The bad luck
Imagine the 2020 Olympics were shaping up to go off without any interruption which is very rare in such a huge event.
Japan kept new construction to a minimum. It built temporary facilities or buildings that could be repurposed after the Games. Everyone expected things to go smoothly due to the wealth and technologically savvy and the considerable planning of the local organizing committee of Japan.
Thomas Bach, the IOC President has said many times that Tokyo is the best-ever prepared city for the Olympic Games. This was a point of pride for Japan.
Japan’s television ratings for the Olympic Games almost always rank near the top of all countries. Japan’s hosting of the 1964 Summer Games was seen as a turning point that changed the image of the country after World War II as a modern and friendly nation.
This was also a chance for this country to be the host of the 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics when television footage of mount Fuji and historical sites and entertainment districts in Tokyo broadcasted around the globe.
Team Japan consisted of 582 athletes, the highest number in the country’s history, was expected to excite local fans.
Then COVID hit and goodwill and good money are either going or gone.
First, the Olympics was postponed to 2021. Then slow vaccine approval and rollout made the virus an even bigger deal.
Now Japan is hardly trying to make this work under extreme pressure. While new cases are still relatively low in raw numbers, they are exploding as a percentage.
And all these were happened even before the games start. The peak of Olympics visitors arriving at the major airports is expected to start on Sunday. It is expected to see 2,000 or 3,000 visitors arriving daily and it causes fear among parts of the unvaccinated public.
But there is no way to return now. 7 days from now, the Olympics will start inside a near-empty $1.3 billion stadium.
Bach believes when the athletes finally start to compete, Japanese people will appreciate it.