Tokyo 2021 Olympics under immense pressure
By Elliot Snaith
With 100 days to go until the Tokyo Olympics officially starts as Japan face huge pressure after a rise of coronavirus cases putting risk on the Olympics taking place. The new wave in Japan is currently around 3500 cases daily with around 500 daily cases in Tokyo. This has led to Tokyo to ask for permission to use emergency powers.
Tokyo Governor, Yuriko Koike has requested to have emergency power which would allow her to make use of a new virus prevention law passed in February. Japan recently, came out of a state of emergency at the end of March and it brings a lot of worry to Tokyo with hospitals starting to come under pressure with 70% of hospital beds occupied in Japan's third-largest city, 311 miles away from Tokyo.
With all these worries, it was announced that foreign spectators will not be attending the games this year which is a huge disappointment as reported last time 20% of ticket sales are from foreign spectators. By there being no spectators, the tourism sector would be taking a massive hit in what is going to be a massive loss for the most expensive Olympic games ever.
With the current ‘third wave’ going around the world some countries are doubting to go to the Olympics this year as North Korea are the first country to announce they will not be going to Tokyo so they can protect its athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On arrival athletes are being told to arrive as late as possible and to leave as early as possible in ways to stop spreading the virus whilst the games are underway. Tokyo praised itself as ‘a safe pair of hands’ seven years ago when they were announced to host the 2020 Olympics and whilst at the time no one knew what coronavirus was, the meaning means more then ever as they will have to protect the athletes during the 17-day competition.
72% of the Japanese people in another recent poll, which is lower than last time reported, still want the games cancelled but the games are still very much continuing with the Olympic torch relay still being underway in Japan. However, in some areas of Japan it is being forced to go in local parks to stop crowds gathering on the streets. Shigeko Kagawa, a 109-year-old woman, has also become the oldest Olympic torch bearer but that is expected to be broken next month by Kane Tanaka who is the oldest person in the world at 118 years old.
With all the focus on Japan hosting the Olympics they have had some recent success with Hideki Matsuyama winning the Masters 2021. Having become Japan’s first ever Masters winner it is expected to inspire people in the country to take up golf and be the next future golfers. Golf is an Olympic event this year and it is expected to see Matsuyama or tennis star Naomi Osaka to be the countries flag bearer during the opening ceremony.
Whilst that seems like some positive news for Japan, many people around the world as well as in the country are still very disappointed in Japan with their vaccine roll out especially with how delayed it was when they are the hosts of a major sporting event. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated Monday his pledge is to secure 100 million vaccine doses by the end of June, but so far Japan has only vaccinated about 1.1 million people out of 126 million meaning less than 1% of the population have had a vaccination. However, 0.4% have had two doses of the vaccine.
So with the immense pressure Tokyo are facing with hosting the Olympics with a new wave hitting Japan, the games are still very likely to take place in what will be a very different viewing experience for the Olympics but will be the ‘normal’ like most sports around the world currently with no spectators at events.