Citizens protest against the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games during a march through the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo on Thursday night. Photo: AP/Hiro Komae
tokyo 2020 olympics

First day of Olympic torch relay ends with waves, smiles and protests

36 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Elaine Lies and Ju-min Park

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Japan was the last of the Group of Seven industrialized nations to launch a vaccine drive. Only 700,000 people have been inoculated so far

Welcome to the world’s only developed third-world country.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

The small flame did not lose hope, and just like the cherry blossom buds that are ready to bloom, it was waiting for this day." Really? What an insane comment, like saying the virus is waiting to bloom. "But there are still many people who can't return to their homes, and many difficult issues such as reviving these areas and rebuilding the lives of their residents, But they are not politicians or beauracracts 10 years of being treated as dross and rolled out as propaganda You must be joking," the man yelled. "Everyone knows we can't have the Olympics." he has a point! But sadly the joke is on him and the rest of us.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

There are more protesters than fans. Bwahaha!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

There are more protesters than fans

Its literally the 80/20 rule, considering that +80% of the population is against the Olympics to go ahead this summer.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

have them next year

2 ( +6 / -4 )

"The small flame did not lose hope, and just like the cherry blossom buds that are ready to bloom, it was waiting for this day."

Chortle.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The small flame did not lose hope

No it did.

On at least two separate occasions yesterday the torch extinguished itself.

They had re-light it from a lantern.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Wow 3 people with extra masks and visors. Some protest. Just irrational idiots who fail to actually look up the statistics and buy into the media hype. They were properly hikikomori with no job before but we're finally able to leave their apartments and become Karens

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

"It's meaningless to hold the Olympics that no one supports," said Miyazaki, who works for Tokyo's metropolitan government.

Well, for once I must step aside and let Miyazaki san do all the talking. Thank you Miyazaki san! Finally! Someone in the Japanese Government has the intelligence to know the difference between right and wrong.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

What a great victory of humanity over the virus.

The whole thing is pathetic.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The torch relay looks like a "matsuri" in Japan. Japanese people like matsuri and they are very good in producing it.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Perhaps, @Cricky 7:16am, like George Lucas once said “...it’s like poetry.” - Haiku?

“The small flame did not lose hope, and just like the cherry blossom buds that are ready to bloom, it was waiting for this day.” -

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Too bad this money grab isn't being spent on poverty reduction, infrastructure upgrades, and better education.

You get the society gov't spends for.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

NHK news last night omitted any news of protests in the pretty picture of a wonderful start to the Olympics and the fantastic hope and joy it has given to all Japan, particularly the people of Fukushima and their success in a super recovery. ( which ironically if the money wasted on the Olympics had been spent on instead would be substantially more)

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Tax those who want to have the Olympics. The rest of us will not be tuning in to the self-glorification.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

“Waves, smiles, protests” I know which category I belong to. 80% can’t be wrong?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

As far as I'm concerned, the start of Olympic torch relay was a happy one. Especially I was happy to see my favorite soccer player Aya Miyama in the group of the first runners. She even gave a speech. It made my day.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Recently a lot of protest on the streets of Tokyo are visible! Some are peaceful and some are just noisy! Japan is somewhat becoming like other countries where protests on the streets are every other day! I miss the old era where Japanese hardly ever took to the streets to protest...it was nice to live peacefully! I know that some protest are good and for the benefit of its citizens but some are just unnecessary! People have nothing better to do these days!

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

@Jim

Japan had some kind of violent protest in the 60-70s, when students etc demonstrated against the US-Japan treaty and the Narita airport. Previous generations were much more politically engaged. I believe that the recent peaceful, non demonstrating state in this country was the result of economic growth, nanny state but also enforced laws that are severely punishing the protesters. New generations have not been politically engaged, and that is why leaders are always from the LDP. Japanese citizens should fight more for their rights and causes.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Those who continue to complain simply do not understand the value and importance of the Olympics.

The Olympics were held during World War II, and they absolutely had to be done during the pandemic too!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

First day of Olympic torch relay ends with waves, smiles and a big slap-up feed at a steak restaurant on the taxpayer dime for the Dentsu/NTT/LDP elite, to celebrate jamming this white elephant through.

Couple of hefty tabs got signed off in Ginza hostess clubs last night, too, I don't doubt.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 "The small flame did not lose hope, and just like the cherry blossom buds that are ready to bloom, it was waiting for this day."

Oh, for eff's sake. The award for tritest bit of propaganda Newspeak goes to...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Regardless of the ability to run a ‘relay race” with a flaming baton, Japan is severely lagging behind many G7 and OECD nations in more important aspects regarding health, welfare, basic human rights, wages, etc. You nailed it @P.Smith 6:55am - We should always point out the continued hypocrisies and ineptitude of policy makers that have left the suffering to now suffer even more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I worry for the Olympic athletes. What will it be like to achieve your dream of an Olympic medal in front of a small, politely clapping, silent crowd?

Methinks depressing...

Hopefully the opening and closing ceremonies will showcase to the world the artistry and technical brilliance of the Japanese culture and industry.

And, hopefully, the world's atheletes give us all a moment to escape our personal world of pain.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Australian news was also heavily hung hon waving the Olympic flag even the Fukushima recovery victory. No mention of virus numbers in Japan. Total utter Hypocrisy. If they had 300-400 cases daily like Tokyo or 2000 nationwide, people would be locked in their houses for months, most businesses closed, movement only within a few kms for emergency reasons, massive testing, people in other parts not even allowed to return to their homes and the so on.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

People who opposed Olympics protested freely. People who supported the games cheered freely. Nobody was forced to do anything. It was another good day in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese mainstream media choose being "partners" of Olympics than journalism, had hesitated even to mention many issue that present Olympics or Tokyo 2020 have. it is equal to have done nothing against arrogance of Olympics 2020 that causes many issue.

according to overseas poll,

Many countries people such as Europe or Asia demands cancellation or postponement of Olympics more than Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

socrateosToday  10:55 am JST

People who opposed Olympics protested freely. People who supported the games cheered freely. Nobody was forced to do anything. It was another good day in Japan.

Spot on Socrateos,

in Japan people don’t get locked up for their thoughts.

Unlike in some other big nearby countries......

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sana Hamaya:

Many countries people such as Europe or Asia demands cancellation or postponement of Olympics more than Japanese.

Too bad, they are not host of this Olympic. Japan is. It's up to Japan to decide.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The way everything seems so forced right now makes me think that even if other countries decide to boycott the games and the IOC folds and cancel the games (not likely, I know), the Japanese government would still try to force the thing on the population even if it has to call it with a different name.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

80/20...that is no rule, but only one data point of one specific Pareto function, that has become famous, as being integer and easy to remember. A statement like PI=3.14 , that also doesn’t describe, what that stands for and it’s also not correct, but famous and easy to remember.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

virusrex:

the Japanese government would still try to force the thing on the population

Opinions are divided. The latest polling shows that only 33% of Japanese people want cancellation. 63% wants Olympics to be held in one way or another (27% now, 36% later) and the number has grown since last survey. So you cannot really say the government is forcing on its population.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Opinions are divided. The latest polling shows that only 33% of Japanese people want cancellation. 63% wants Olympics to be held in one way or another (27% now, 36% later) and the number has grown since last survey. So you cannot really say the government is forcing on its population.

The government would be forcing it by doing it this year to the 69% that are against it happening now (or ever). There is nothing wrong with saying that doing something against the majority of the population is forcing it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With sanctions by the UN in neighbouring areas this European spirit of university is as displaced as is the soccer in the Arabian surrounding.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hopefully the opening and closing ceremonies will showcase to the world the artistry and technical brilliance of the Japanese culture and industry

A few boy bands and some anime for the otaku? Highly depressing, and not really technically brilliant at all.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Socrateos People who opposed Olympics protested freely. People who supported the games cheered freely. Nobody was forced to do anything. It was another good day in Japan.*

well put.

Haters gunna hate, Cynics are gunna Cyanide!

Looking forward to seeing some peak human performances on display, and the fact that the Olympic spirit survives these chaotic and bitter times. We all could do with a bit of inspiration, and watching those that have dedicated their entire lives to their sport rise to glory is about as good as it gets. It’s not going to be an ideal Olympics, by any stretch. But when was life ever ideal?? Just got to let it in.

Those that don’t, well that’s just fine too. We all get to choose our own mindset.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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