This year’s Olympics will be different, writes Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan. It will be antisocial, antibacterial — and quite probably anticlimactic. Hugs, high-fives and handshakes are out, as are cheering, singing and shouting.
And that’s even if anyone’s there to watch, since international visitors won’t be allowed into Japan and it’s unclear how many local people can go. Even athletes’ families are unlikely to be able to attend, while VIPs have been asked to pare down their delegations to the bare minimum.
Support for holding Tokyo 2020 remains low in Japan due to worries about the spread of COVID-19, and now, some Olympic hopefuls in the country have begun taking to social media to push back against public perceptions that they are in lock-step with the event’s organizers about the need to proceed with the games, reports Kaz Nagatsuka.
Even the Olympic torch relay is proving contentious. Last month, the governor of Shimane threatened to cancel local events related to the relay in his prefecture if Tokyo doesn’t get the virus under control. Nadeshiko Japan veteran Nahomi Kawasumi confirmed on Monday that she will not take part, fearing she may carry the virus over from the U.S.
Fukui hospital manager Manabu Yoneshima is also having doubts about the wisdom of fulfilling his dream of being a torchbearer this summer, he tells Reuters. “Is it really right that I … run as a torchbearer and get a nice memory out of it, when everyone else is struggling and putting up with the pandemic?”
Tsunami survivor Kenichi Kurosawa in Miyagi Prefecture, however, is staying the course. “I applied to be an Olympic torchbearer to represent Ishinomaki and to remind the world of what happened here,” he tells Alex K.T. Martin. “And if it is held as planned, I will do my best to play my part.”