With less than three weeks to go, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are expected to be held under a less than festive atmosphere amid the coronavirus pandemic: less chatting about which athlete you’re hoping to see, which team you’ll be rooting for or which nation will win the most gold medals.

But it is said that every cloud has a silver lining, and one Japanese scholar believes the quadrennial sporting event could boost Japan’s soft power, bolstering its global presence, and also augment its "psychic income" — the pleasure and satisfaction of successfully holding the event.

“If Japan can manage to host the Tokyo Games as successfully as possible under the circumstances, it will improve its soft power and bring a variety of different (positive) effects after the pandemic is over,” said Yuhei Inoue, an associate professor on sports management at Manchester Metropolitan University in the U.K., in an online interview.