Demonstrators protest against the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games near the National Stadium in Tokyo on Friday. Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato
sports

Anti-Olympic protest held in Tokyo

53 Comments
By Jack Tarrant and Akira Tomoshige

Several dozen protesters in masks gathered in front of Japan's National Stadium on Friday, the day the Olympic Games should have begun, to protest against holding them next year given the danger of the novel coronavirus.

The Games were postponed in March as the coronavirus swept the world and the government is determined that they go ahead next year.

But there's growing opposition in Japan to holding the Games, even next year, over doubts that a big sporting event can be held safely.

"I believe it's a massive mistake," said Kai Toyama, 44, an artist who traveled from the suburbs of Tokyo to attend the small rally.

It was irresponsible for Japan to go ahead with the Olympics, he said.

"I think more people should be vocal about the fact that we shouldn't hold the Olympics during the coronavirus," said Toyama, who wore a long black coat adorned with the Olympic symbol and the words "declaration of no Olympic Games".

A recent poll by Kyodo News found that fewer than a quarter of respondents were in favor of holding the Games as scheduled next year, a dramatic turnaround from the excitement during Tokyo's successful campaign to host the Olympics back in 2013.

At the time, support among Tokyo residents for hosting the Games was as high as 70%, a crucial component in Tokyo's pitch to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Olympic organizers have said all possible efforts will be made to ensure the 11,000 athletes expected to take part will be able to travel safely to Tokyo and compete in world class surroundings.

But experts have said this will be difficult without the development and global distribution of an effective vaccine for the coronavirus.

The shift in public opinion comes as the Japanese capital sees a new surge in coronavirus cases after the government lifted a state of emergency.

Tokyo reported a record 366 new infections on Thursday and residents have been asked to refrain from unnecessary outings.

Since February, Japan has confirmed 27,000 cases of the virus and 1,000 deaths.

Though it has dodged the kind of tolls seen elsewhere in the world, public support for the government's handling of the pandemic has plummeted. The Kyodo poll showed that more than half of respondents were dissatisfied with the government response.

Organizers of Friday's protest questioned whether Japanese companies, which raised a record $3.1 billion in sponsorship for the Games, should remain involved when they are under increasing pressure from an economic downturn caused by the virus.

"I don't believe we should hold a mega event like this until we can see an end to this," said Toshio Miyazaki, 59, one of the organizers, adding that the government should help those affected by the coronavirus rather than hold the Games.

The IOC has estimated the postponement will cost the committee $800 million. There has been no estimate for how much the postponement will cost Japan.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

53 Comments
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I hope this sparks bigger protests, not to be copycat of the US or France, because that’s just too much, but nothing else will spark change here. People need to start speaking up for a better japan

23 ( +30 / -7 )

Just cancel the games. Each individual sport has their own championship competition. Leave it at that.

12 ( +23 / -11 )

I agree. No need to show off!

There are many things Tokyo needs to do than having Olympic.

Corona or No-Corona, period.

12 ( +20 / -8 )

Good news!

6 ( +13 / -7 )

But experts have said this will be difficult without the development and global distribution of an effective vaccine for the coronavirus.

“It is likely that at the beginning of next year we would have tens of millions of doses available. ... as we get into 2021, there will be hundreds of millions of doses. And then maybe sometime thereafter, billions of doses.” — Dr. Anthony Fauci, July 23, 2020

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Looks like there are more cops on the scene than people protesting.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

Japan, should not offer to host Olympics in 2021, if it poses a significant health and financial risk . . . .

8 ( +12 / -4 )

who would volunteer under these circumstances? Olympics rely on a stalwart volunteer base of slave labour to function and there's no way that this can happen here. Every location under quarantine every trip it's not possible. There might have been a stipend but add on the costs of decontamination and fresh masks and it's a logistical nightmare.

Dealing with COVID-19 destroys Japan Inc's workforce overtime mentality

With practically zero testing Japan should be banned from trips to other countries as it is, thinking Olympics is just pie in the sky dreaming

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Though it has dodged the kind of tolls seen elsewhere in the world, public support for the government's handling of the pandemic has plummeted. The Kyodo poll showed that more than half of respondents were dissatisfied with the government response.

So far it has "officially" dodged a bullet, in comparison to others maybe so, but what about "unofficially?"

I distrust the information coming out from the government when I personally see testing numbers and the method of counting how many people actually came down with the virus is wildly inaccurate.

Just in Okinawa alone, people who get tested at "unofficial" hospitals or clinics are not included in the totals, people who tested positive in another prefecture, but are physically being treated HERE are not counted as being sick in Okinawa, the military, who we live together with and which has over 200 cases reported so far, are also not counted as contracting the virus here, nor counted in any official accounts in Japan.

Add them in, and Okinawa alone has had close to 400 total infections, with about 240 since the start of July.

Damn straight folks should be "dissatisfied" they should be madder than hell! 2 months ago they "locked down" the country with less infections and now they are letting things go as usual with this surge.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

I heard that it is IOC which decides. JOC has no power.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

we need to know what the amount the Tokyo Olympic Committee is insured for

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I heard that it is IOC which decides. JOC has no power.

Neither. The Olympics were cancelled after Canadian then other athlete's associations abandoned the Olympics immediately following a tone deaf Bach speech, so no the IOC is not who decides. They can plan but athlete's associations of the world have to accept.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I'm down with eliminating the modern Olympics completely.

Bring back amateurs only, get rid of the gross financial corruption and use existing facilities.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

What's with the Transgender pride flag? Is this a protest to have the Olympics or not?

I feel like there's always a select amount of people who go to "protest" or cause trouble.

BLM violent protests, currently don't even have any black people attending. It's all young white kids who think they know how the world should be. Greta Thunberg the leading advisor on Corona virus!! Next on CNN!!!

As for Trans let them compete! Seriously you couldn't destroy the male part of sports. But let's see what happens!!! Especially in the more physical sports.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

"The IOC has estimated the postponement will cost the committee $800 million. "

WoW that's a hefty price to pay for a sporting event that should be about sports not commercialization.

These games at one point served its intent by going worldwide, but that time has come and passed long ago. Each time a city must host the games it has proven costly for the host. IMO these games should go back to their roots of origin and held there for a spell like in the original days many years ago.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The games cannot be cancelled. I don’t care about the government or large corporations. Too many ‘normal’ people have invested in the games. Many of them have already gone bust. A friend of mine started a limousine bus service for the games and he has just applied for bankruptcy.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

How about the IOC paying the cities hosting the games?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Grrrr #Down with the Olympics We hate the Games , Down with the Olympics We hate the Horrid Games ,

No Games No More Fun No Games No More Fun Grrrr

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It’s not about stopping ‘fun’

It is about protecting people and stopping colossal waste and graft!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Oh please ~, My no. 1 dream of year 2021 is going to Tokyo 2021!

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

May I humbly suggest that Kai Toyama, 44, an artist who traveled from the suburbs of Tokyo to attend the small rally carefully reviews the Tokyo 2020 host contract.

The Japanese Government committed to a grossly lopsided arrangement........  

The Olympics Games and all relevant rights--including broadcasting, reproduction and staging rights--are the exclusive property of the IOC.

The organizers must protect the IOC from any damages or claims related to the organizing of the Games. This means the organizers may compensate the IOC for the damages they suffer, as well as payments the IOC is asked to make by third parties such as Olympic sponsors or broadcasters.

The IOC can make changes to the Olympic program at any time. Such changes may include adding or deleting sports. The organizers bear the cost of those changes.

Best not jump out of the frying pan into the fire

Host City Contract 2020

https://www.2020games.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/eng/taikaijyunbi/taikai/hcc/index.html

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Again, many here opting to tank the economy while naively thinking it won't come back to bite them. Safe for now in their cotton wool masks.

Think for a minute how much tax payer's money is already tied up in the Olympics.

I dislike the entire, corrupt organization. But I do have a sense that Japan is heading into wild economic storms...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

No need to protest, COVID-19 will decide when the games can start, and the rate it's been dancing around in the past few days I think there will NOT be an Olympics in 2021.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This corona pandemic would last a couple of years all over the world. Most athletes and visitors would not come to Japan if they are smart. No one wants to get infected in crowds and go home with the virus. Most countries could not get vaccine before open of Olympics, so better forget it.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Japan, should not offer to host Olympics in 2021, if it poses a significant health and financial risk . . .

and how about France in 2024 and China 2022?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Several dozen protesters in masks

It is important to mention that they wear masks.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

@jtsnose But that’s the key thing, IF it poses significant health risks. With it being a year out and all, as I’ve said before on here, it’s still too soon to say whether or not it will be a significant risk or not. I mean take a look at how the situation is changed in the past month. And yes, it can also get a lot better too. Just trying to prove a point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The games cannot be cancelled. I don’t care about the government or large corporations. Too many ‘normal’ people have invested in the games. Many of them have already gone bust. A friend of mine started a limousine bus service for the games and he has just applied for bankruptcy.

Starting up a transport business for a future short event, and then going bankrupt well before the event? I think this business model was built on rather shaky ground. I think too many people saw this 2 and a bit week event as a means to cash in. Better off focusing on a long term plan for incoming tourism.

Look, without a vaccine being distributed, the Games sadly cant go ahead. For a competitive Olympics where athletes are near their peak, they must be travelling and competing in international comps at least 6 months before the Games. Unless a vaccine is out there by January 2021, I think its all over, which makes me sad.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Fabulous to see Japanese people standing up for their rights and that all who live here with none other than paying taxes. It is good that the Japanese will not take crap and the Stalinist ways of this government any longer and let them know they are working for us and we not for them.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Just shut it down, anyone that says he is totally committed should be asked to put his money where his mouth is (Bach, Coates et al). No point wasting any more resources when covid recovery 'should' be the priority.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Why is so much police needed at a peaceful demonstration? Give people some space. Ridiculous.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I hate the Olympics, so I hope they get cancelled. Totally corrupt organization.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

There will be no Olympics in 2021, this talk of vaccines is nonsense. The decision to hold or call off will have to be made by the year end at the very latest. The organisers know the games are toast..... I assume there are legal and contractual obligations preventing them from just announcing the obvious.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

3 protestors and a cop with noses uncovered.

Like fornicating for virginity.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There will be no Olympics in 2021, this talk of vaccines is nonsense.

The IOC said that if Tokyo can't hold the Olympics, then Beijing won't hold the winter Olympics too.

So I bet China will be pressuring Japan to hold it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So I bet China will be pressuring Japan to hold it.

Hello , I would like to bet a penny that you will win

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I’m very glad to see a lot of great comments here. The story itself is a bit of a shocker. It’s time we all realized that this isn’t going to happen and the corrupt IOC knows it. As one of you said above, I wonder what Japan’s insurance is like for that hefty tag.

To be honest, I don’t think anyone will miss them once it’s all said and done. The games need to be rethought to deal with the scandals and cost. Perhaps having only one global spot for the Winter and Summer games would be much more efficient.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Everyone has the right to protest, but it's sad that, perhaps in this country in particular, the meaning of the Olympic Spirit seems to have been lost on people.

I'm not a sporting fan, I don't support any kind of sports, just not interested.

But the Olympics always draw me in hugely, I love the spirit of it, the coming together, even just of minds around the world. The original idea of actual peace around the world during the time of the Olympics may no longer actually hold, but I think the spirit still means something. People from around the world watching the same thing. world leaders coming together, not for a political summit but to watch a sporting event together has some power. it can bring healing and a bit of mutual understanding.

Especially in times like this ripe with nationalism, populism, fear etc. a coming together in peace is more needed than ever. Of course, if the virus is not under control by then it has to be canned, there's no other way. But as long as there's a chance to hold the Olympics in some form or another it should go ahead. it's worth the expense beyond the pure economic value.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I dont really see the need for the Olympics next year. But with all the money spent, should probably have them to try to recoup some of that money. if its safe for international travel by then, of course.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sf2k: The Olympics Games and all relevant rights--including broadcasting, reproduction and staging rights--are the exclusive property of the IOC.

The organizers must protect the IOC from any damages or claims related to the organizing of the Games. This means the organizers may compensate the IOC for the damages they suffer, as well as payments the IOC is asked to make by third parties such as Olympic sponsors or broadcasters.

The IOC can make changes to the Olympic program at any time. Such changes may include adding or deleting sports. The organizers bear the cost of those changes.

Ashley Siba: Best you examine history and the legacy of Stalin, your hyperbole is silly & foolish. Abe is horrible, but nowhere near Stalin or Stalinist.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Best not jump out of the frying pan into the fire"

Host City Contract 2020

Either way your either cooked or burnt. Best is that the IOC keep the games back to their origin for a bit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cost $800 Million?

How about $Billions even a Trillion could be lost because coronavirus spreads haywire after the Olympics!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm down with eliminating the modern Olympics completely.

Bring back amateurs only, get rid of the gross financial corruption and use existing facilities.

Yes!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is important to mention that they wear masks.

Masks help people get away with many things. Ask the "protestors" in other countries.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm going to miss all those hi-5s they gave after the World Rugby Cup matches.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lets have corona test olympics see how many j gov can test

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

rgcivilian1, putting this pandemic aside for a moment, the Olympic Game as an international sports festival has been tainted for some years, drenched in nationalism, becoming a victim of commercialism in place of the once highly competitive sporting values.

My humble opinion is Olympic Game needs a permanent home, importantly a resting place.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The irony of ironies! The so called never late for anything country and always on time reputation has taken a huge hit here! Protesting due to being late is not acceptable in their culture really? Nah, the reality is better cut the losses now as they’ll only get worse if it gets cancelled later. Protesters are right so it’s time to move on Tokyo!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Olympics?

Less about sports , more about obscene amounts of money....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A lot of money has already been invested in holding the Olympics, & if you cancel them, then all that money will indeed go to waste.

The only way that we will see a return on this huge investment, is by holding the Olympics.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In a maybe not-surprising display of self-absorption and lack of real-world smarts, the IOC's PR wing posted a gushing tweet on Friday commemorating the 1936 Olympics and its torch rally. This was then deleted after the Auschwitz Memorial made the obvious point about the Games being a propaganda exercise for the Nazis. The IOC even had the gall to throw in some Jessie Owens-based whataboutery in their "apology".

https://sports.yahoo.com/ioc-apologizes-to-those-who-feel-offended-after-tweeting-video-reminiscing-about-berlin-olympics-015919843.html

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

2022 doesn't sound bad for Japan Olympics from 2020. Numbers still look good but that year has World Cup. Who will win the world audience?

That's why there should be another world cup and another Olympics.

The world cup where the last 100 teams play each other to win the world cup.

The Olympics where all the countries Except 20 big nations race each other.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How about all the other sports being played in Japan and in the US now? Should we stop those too or just stop the Olympics? Pretty silly and ignorant of people supposedly worried about virus transmission to congregate in public for a protest. No one else on this forum could see the hypocrisy on display by these genius protesters?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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