tokyo 2020 olympics

Japan prepares for a surreal Olympics, and plenty of questions

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By FOSTER KLUG

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Japan prepares for a surreal Olympics, and questions are plenty

From those questions, can start with, why?

17 ( +21 / -4 )

That was NOT the kind “test events” the majority of Japan’s people wanted & needed over the last 18 months!:

“A TV cameraman sits beside empty spectators' seats during an athletics test event for Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games National Stadium

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Well, at least the ratio of people to empty seats in this photo is consistent with the amount of CoVid testing authorized/reported daily over the last 18 months leading up to these other Games. … or, is it actually, far less?

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Going in circles day after day.

Hope for the best in difficult and hard circumstances. Japan is not unique, other countries reopen, adjust, close, masks, no mask tomorrow. That's life in 2021. In Japan and worldwide.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

The story that foreign residents focus on about these Games is very much consistent with the reality on the nation’s streets. Everything else shown abroad was IOCLDPJOC GREED, manipulation & lies.

“The story that foreign visitors focus on for these Games will also be very different from the reality on the nation’s streets.” -

3 ( +8 / -5 )

quasi-bubble

nice!!!! (⌒▽⌒)

3 ( +8 / -5 )

This part they got right!:

“Barring catastrophe, the IOC, local newspapers (many of which are also sponsors), JTV, and NBC will likely be unified in their message:

Just getting through will be cast as a triumph.” -
3 ( +8 / -5 )

Will the normally hospitable Japanese people warm to the visitors?

Some yes, some no.

I guess that all foreigners will be judged as Olympic related people.

Even foreigners who are living here and are zero related to the Olympics will look suspicious to the japanese people.

Will they bring in variants that will spread through Japan?

I am not sure.

As long as everyone stays in the bubble, it should be OK.

But unfortunately rules were broken already. Which answers the other question;

Will the Olympians and others play by the rules meant to protect the country they’re visiting?

Unfortunately there are always black sheeps among the herd.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Japan prepares for a surreal Olympics, and plenty of questions

Well, what goes around...comes around. Holding the Olympics during a global pandemic is pretty surreal to start with, ain't it?

Also, all questions are from the public's side. From the government's side, not one peep that could be interpreted as an answer...

One question that I've been wondering about for already quite some time: how much appetite is there abroad for the Olympics?

I mean: yes, NBC wants to air them and, yes, delegations of athletes are here but if people abroad are allowed to get out again why would they lock themselves again watching this trainwreck? And it they still aren't allowed to go out, are they really that eager to move from Netflix to the Olympics? Me not so sure about any of that...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

To go down as the most depressing and worst Olympics in history. Japan chose to claim that title, They could of just canceled it all.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Salurasuki asked #1, I’ll ask #2&3. How many will die as a result of the IOC’s foolish pride and what’s the over/under on the COVID games getting “suspended” mid-way due to “unforeseen” circumstances?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

A hushed silence came over the grandstand as the athletes brace for the start, there off! (Someone shouts and are escorted outside) the silence continues. It’s gold!, gold!, gold! Whispers the announcer as recorded cheers resonate around the empty stadium.

‘A memory for sure, not a good one.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Will the normally hospitable Japanese people warm to the visitors?

who says that the Japanese are normally hospitable?

I guess that all foreigners will be judged as Olympic related people.

Even foreigners who are living here and are zero related to the Olympics will look suspicious to the japanese people.

Exactly. That's what happened to A LOT of us in the 2002 World Cup. Since that time, I have been against Japan hosting ANY international event as it turns into a pretext for discrimination and a lurch toward more authoritarianism

9 ( +14 / -5 )

The writer of this piece should write more articles. He’s good.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

@blue

According to a recent international poll by Ipsos, 57 percent of people think the games should not take place this year.

https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/tokyo-olympics-draw-muted-interest

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"Surreal Olympics" Nice headline! Facing a lot of new things they have not experienced.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

What a joke and a stain on Japan.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Is it just me or do those seats look totally disorganized, like if they were just put there without much thought?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Since the pandemic canceled the originally scheduled version in 2020, the Japanese media have been obsessed with the Games.

Not just the Japanese press ay J today? The constant barrage of negativity drummed up by the media, has been the unsightly spectacle from this end . I get the click bait generation but it hasn’t been pretty. Carefully chosen headlines to create the desired bitter response.

To not get behind Japans efforts to try and showcase their nation, right to the bitter end has been rather distasteful and a bit on the sad side especially if this is your chosen home.

Its fine though y’all just YouTube or Netflix your way through the next fortnight or so, scrolling though the headlines for your disaster story that may or may not come , ignoring the true stories of human triumph. Never your cup of tea any way was it, hyper achievers, why in fact celebrate them at all?

Let the games begin! The one for our hearts AND psyche!

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

Some dudeToday 08:00 am JST

The writer of this piece should write more articles. He’s good.

I thought so too.

Foster Klug, the AP’s news director for Japan, the Koreas, Australia and the South Pacific, has covered Asia since 2005 and is based in Tokyo. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/APKlug

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Won't be watching these corrupt games. The worst Olympics ever. Thanks Japan.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

To not get behind Japans efforts to try and showcase their nation, right to the bitter end has been rather distasteful and a bit on the sad side especially if this is your chosen home.

I speak only for myself, but I would imagine I’m not the only one to say this: it is because we have chosen Japan as our home, and because we appreciate the many positive things about it, that we feel that it is justified to point out when we feel the country gets it wrong.

These games do not represent “Japan’s efforts”. They represent the greed and myopia of a small group of rich and arrogant people. You’ve seen the stats. Most Japanese are against these games.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Plenty of questions? I have only one. Would those morons now be so kind and cancel this virus super spreading event immediately?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Barring catastrophe, the IOC, local newspapers (many of which are also sponsors), Japanese TV, and rights holders like NBC will likely be unified in their message: Just getting through will be cast as a triumph.

Especially "partners" local media outlets are flexibly or shamelessly alternating their critical position. Schizophrenic phenomena have also been emerging when Olympic criticism goes aired together back to back with Olympic promotions within the same broadcasting program. But contrast to their belief, audiences are not so stupid.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

 Going in circles day after day. *Japan is not unique, other countries reopen, adjust, close, masks, no mask tomorrow. **That's life in 2021.*** "**

Wrong, no other country is holding a mass event with 90,000 foreigners coming in during a pandemic with only 20% of population fully vaccinated. Governments in any other " real democracy " would be engulfed by street protests and kicked out for consistently going against the wishes of 80% of their population. So sorry , but Japan is very much "unique ".

8 ( +10 / -2 )

On one side, most of Japan’s largely unvaccinated, increasingly resentful populace will continue soldiering on through the worst pandemic to hit the globe in a century

Check this link:

https://mainichi.jp/english/covid19

The Mainichi newspaper reports the Mininstry of Health C19 infection status. It states that over 70,000,000 vaccinations (at least one shot) have been administered. For a population of 126 million a majority have some protection (55%) so the population is NOT largely unvaccinated.

Please spare us the doom.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Oh please.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Surreal, for sure. And unbelievable. The only thing I can believe is that the LDP will stay in power after the upcoming elections this year. That's one thing I'm sure of.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Check this link:

https://mainichi.jp/english/covid19

The Mainichi newspaper reports the Mininstry of Health C19 infection status. It states that over 70,000,000 vaccinations (at least one shot) have been administered. For a population of 126 million a majority have some protection (55%) so the population is NOT largely unvaccinated.

Please spare us the doom.

You only provided the number of doses that have been administered and not the people that have been vaccinated. Since people have received two shots by now, the number of doses administered is obviously higher than the number of people vaccinated. So far they have administered 70,051,205 doses. Of those 42,640,078 were first shots and another 27,411,127 were second shot.

Everyone who got a second shot obviously received a first shot before. Therefore we have 27,411,127 (21.6%) people that have received both shots and 15,228,951 (11.9%) who have only received one shot. That means that 33.5% (42,640,078) have any kind of protection and not 55% like you claim. That also means that 66.5% are unvaccinated.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Read the first article:

https://mainichi.jp/english/

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Nice Confusius. I new my math was wrong but I though I would put my thoughts out there anyway!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

On one side, most of Japan’s largely unvaccinated, increasingly resentful populace will continue soldiering on through the worst pandemic to hit the globe in a century, almost entirely separated from the spectacle of the Tokyo Games aside from what they see on TV. Illness and recovery, work and play, both curtailed by strict virus restrictions: Life, such as it is, will go on here.

I am lost on what the meaning of strict is, what are the strict corona virus restrictions for the local population is this author who I assume lives here is talking of ? I guess he has been living in Tokyo in his own little bubble. I will give a visiting journalist for the olympics the benefit of doubt for making such a statement because of the strictness imposed on them and they feeling the same strictness is imposed on the local population.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

To go down as the most depressing and worst Olympics in history. Japan chose to claim that title, They could of just canceled it all.

Well said. And although Japan could be commended for their original intentions of hosting the games as a way to uplift the national spirit; once Covid happened and everything went pear-shaped, the JOC/IOC's decision to carry on (rather than postponing until 2022) is something they'll have to own now.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

the disconnect between sports and sickness, rhetoric and reality, visitor and local will be hard to miss for many here

Bravo. An excellent article.

Thank you Mr Klug.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Pim

Thanks for the link. Appreciated.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

i will ignore these so called olympics completely.

I am preparing for period of 2-3 wks after this pricey circuss will end...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

GdTokyoToday  07:36 am JST

Salurasuki asked #1, I’ll ask #2&3. How many will die as a result of the IOC’s foolish pride and what’s the over/under on the COVID games getting “suspended” mid-way due to “unforeseen” circumstances?

From some of the commenters on here, I believe you just pick a number. If facts don't back it up, just twist them.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Some dudeToday  08:53 am JST

To not get behind Japans efforts to try and showcase their nation, right to the bitter end has been rather distasteful and a bit on the sad side especially if this is your chosen home.

I speak only for myself, but I would imagine I’m not the only one to say this: it is because we have chosen Japan as our home, and because we appreciate the many positive things about it, that we feel that it is justified to point out when we feel the country gets it wrong.

These games do not represent “Japan’s efforts”. They represent the greed and myopia of a small group of rich and arrogant people. You’ve seen the stats. Most Japanese are against these games.

Problem with the stats is most don't differentiate between those that want a postponement, and those that want complete cancellation.

Also, don't forget that it's not always been this way. Rewind the clock to 2019 and the ticket applications vastly exceeded the supply of tickets.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Surreal? Yes. Surreal the worst Olimpics in the history of the event by far. The re is absolutely NO Olimpic Spirit, no Olimpic atmosphere, no happiness at all, no celebration, no nothing.

Sadests Olimpics ever.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I am not Japanese, but I have lived in Japan for almost five years. Therefore, my taxes have contributed towards these unwanted super spreader Olympics. Yet, despite having received my vouchers a month ago, I am still unable to make an appointment to get vaccinated! I can see now why foreign residents are not allowed to vote in Japan because I am furious. The incompetence and disorganisation is astonishing and I would love to be able to express my feelings at the ballot box. I feel powerless to do anything, and Shinjuku ward can only tell me there is a vaccination shortage and to just keep trying to make an appointment everyday. It's an utter shambles and I will not watch the Olympics, or support any of the sponsors as the whole thing is a disgrace. I despise Suga and his government who couldn't organise the proverbial in a brewery.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

as it turns into a pretext for discrimination and a lurch toward more authoritarianism

It would be sad and ironic if a Chinese virus is responsible for turning Japan into a more xenophobic, police state. Personally, I think Suga should just let vaccinated people attend the games.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Sadly, Japan is showcasing the version of itself that is driven by media-driven xenophobic fear and which fails in responding to crises. If this didn’t involve foreigners, the whole vibe would be different. The media is aflame with news that 60 people associated with the Olympics have tested positive, while similarly sized day-to-day fluctuations in the new case count among citizens pass unnoticed. The delta and other variants are already here, so these 60 people represent nothing more than 60 new cases already in a quarantined environment.

And the root cause of this problem—low vaccination rates—owes to Japan’s unwillingness to accept foreign science and recognize, as most countries have done, the FDA’s emergency approvals and bypass it’s own redundant trials. Despite the obvious benefits of making an exception in this special case, the decision was eventually taken to do things exactly the way they have always been done. Had the vaccines been approved on a typical OECD schedule and been administered a couple months earlier, Japan would be riding high, having fun, and recouping some of its investment in these Games.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

low vaccination rates—owes to Japan’s unwillingness to accept foreign science and recognize, as most countries have done, the FDA’s emergency approvals and bypass it’s own redundant trials

I will give you the part about bypassing the local trails.

But the low vaccination rate has little to do with it being a foreign vaccine and everything to do with Japanese bureaucracy and poor organisation.

Everyone over 65 in my 3 Japanese families ( don't ask long story) were ready and willing from day one of the program.

But week after week many waited and waited for that paper voucher, then once they finally got it, there were so few places and so few slots available it became near impossible to get an appointment.

Mass vaccination centres far from their homes, etc...dragged on for months.

Just in our ward there were only 6 vaccination locations at first only starting in July did they add about a dozen more only to then run out of vaccine.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Paul14Today  10:58 am JST

I am not Japanese, but I have lived in Japan for almost five years. Therefore, my taxes have contributed towards these unwanted super spreader Olympics. Yet, despite having received my vouchers a month ago, I am still unable to make an appointment to get vaccinated! I can see now why foreign residents are not allowed to vote in Japan because I am furious. The incompetence and disorganisation is astonishing and I would love to be able to express my feelings at the ballot box. I feel powerless to do anything, and Shinjuku ward can only tell me there is a vaccination shortage and to just keep trying to make an appointment everyday. It's an utter shambles and I will not watch the Olympics, or support any of the sponsors as the whole thing is a disgrace. I despise Suga and his government who couldn't organise the proverbial in a brewery.

The Olympics was awarded to Tokyo in 2013, so you can't say you didn't know where your taxes would be going.

As for being a "super spreader", for that you need a crowd. Best take a look at the 3.5 million people that pass through Shinjuku daily, or better yet, the current baseball, football and sumo events going right now with crowds.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Just in our ward there were only 6 vaccination locations at first only starting in July did they add about a dozen more only to then run out of vaccine.

Yes, but 40 million people are vaccinated now. So let vaccinated people attend the games!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This is what happens when you have one party in power for 70 years and no viable political opposition: corruption, incompetence and contempt for the people.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Athletes will sure miss the infamous clapping hands from fans cheering them off!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Olympics was awarded to Tokyo in 2013, so you can't say you didn't know where your taxes would be going.

Ah but yes we can!

2013 bid claimed it would cost $6.6 billion by 2017 that was charged to $12 billion, now we are far over $ 15 billion and the government auditors say that once the full count is done they expect that to be double.

So looking at $30 billion.

So ok once could say we expected our taxes were paying for the games but $30 billion is very different from $6 billion and even if the auditors are wrong we are still already at $15 billion more than twice what we were told.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

the JOC/IOC's decision to carry on (rather than postponing until 2022) is something they'll have to own now.

Nope, it was Abe's call, he saw it as a befitting ocassion on the global stage to shine internationally before leaving as PM and maybe cement a place as a global statesman. Well, it was never meant to be, he is probably sipping tea and caressing his dog while Bach is taking all the heat. May be he saw this coming and decided to jump ship leaving his crew and passengers behind.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Paul14

I am 30 and also live in Shinjuku. I haven’t heard anything to the contrary so I am anticipating being able to receive my first dose of the vaccine at my appointment this Friday. It’s unfortunate that you haven’t been able to schedule as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The re is absolutely NO Olimpic Spirit, no Olimpic atmosphere, no happiness at all, no celebration, no nothing.

Sadests Olimpics ever.

I can assure you that the moment it starts there will be happiness and celebration here when the medals start rolling in and you will wonder what all the stop-the-olympic fuss was about. So far as the media is for the olympics which they are as stakeholders they will surely generate and ramp up interest in the olympics.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

2013 bid claimed it would cost $6.6 billion by 2017 that was charged to $12 billion, now we are far over $ 15 billion and the government auditors say that once the full count is done they expect that to be double.

Full count, if luckily the docs have not been shredded, not holding my breath. Does Nagano olympics ring a bell ?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

MAY the hopes and aspirations of all participants in and the hardworking organizers of the corona battered and postponed TOKYO OLYMPICS 2020-21 be a GRAND SUCCESS without any aberrations except stories of new HONOURS AND ACHIEVEMENTS! GOD BLESS!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

A reference to the media, as if outside JT and the author penning the article decries the understanding held by both. Surreal. Indeed. With the addition that it ignores the self-referential.

The entire process of the Olympics has been mediated with the stenciling of PR and propaganda; from the IOC, JOC and various ministries and the head that sits atop it all aka the PM: to create an alternate reality.

Koike has never been held to account as she attempted to 'control the narrative' using the games to position herself and serve personal ambition(s). As is, she is nowhere to be seen and, as with the former PM, gone into exile due to health reasons. Unlike Abe, she will rise again or attempt to do so. In a land with actual journalists, she would be, at a minimum, taken to task and a light shone on her purposeful intent to use the games as a political platform and hence a large responsibility for the ongoing fiasco. That she would possibly have any legitimacy, after the games have folded up their tent and set sail for China - will put in perspective the talents of the news media.

As for Suga. He inherited the Olympics from Abe, an event that was to crown his somewhat questionable legacy. As is, Abe slinked off into the darkness - to avoid scandal, leaving his hatchet man in charge. Suga, instead of keeping the seat warm, claimed the throne as his own and has worked to solidify his position. The Games are now his legacy and all the spurious and inept machinations to insure 'the games go on', as members of the IOC have indicated, 'no matter the cost'.

The above is an article posing questions, which are fairly pedestrian. Giving no true answer(s). Though burdening itself with somewhat vapid assumptions that reflect varying levels of prejudice and no actual read on the obvious.

An in depth examination of the total costs of the Olympics would be appreciated. The actual costs. Any return or loss on that investment. The genuine adverse impacts. The strategies that led to holding games during an ongoing pandemic. The involvement of outside forces aka corporate and quasi-political entities in forcing the games to be held.

WHY did the Japanese government spend upwards of 25 billion dollars of taxpayer money for the Olympic Games? How are the Japanese people possibly to profit from such? Other than those who profit from industrial tourism, there seems no legitimate reason.

What would be appreciated: an in depth examination of WHY the games are being held in 2021 instead of 2022. There was a meeting among all the fatcats and honchos, at which Abe was head of table. In that meeting a decision was reached to hold the Games in 2021.

That one person, expires due to SARSCoV-2, brought into Japan, by a foreigner, whose only legitimacy on Japanese soil was the Olympics, is reason enough to condemn the Games.

The surreal fiasco, even prior to the games: the Ugandan, who isn't even a member of the weight lifting team wandering around Japan, ostensibly in search of a place to live and job (to reference the note he left). A university student from Uzbekistan, 'on leave', working part-time in food service commits a heinous and repulsive crime, raping a co-worker, in broad daylight at an Olympic venue - WHY has he been in Japan since 2014 and is working part-time in a menial job - which brings a slew of other question, none of which have been explored, some which have not even been asked. Add to that the numerous athletes, in Japan, from far and wide who ALREADY have SARSCoV-2.

That the athletes and staff and all others, are not required to be vaccinated is a first line failure. That athletes who have contracted SARSCoV-2 are not sent home - defies logic. That team members who violate protocol are not deported along with their team-mates seems beyond the ken of those still imagining a 'successful games'. As it used to be said, a made for tee-vee event.

The official line will be, in spite of the odds, the games went on - that in itself was a triumph. Shouted into an echo chamber.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I now and forever will hate the Olympics. I can tolerate the waste of tax money on sports. I can tolerate the commercialization. I can tolerate the deification of athletes whose main virtue is their ability to run and jump higher than average people. I could even tolerate the politicization of sports and men pretending to be women even though that decision will set back women's sports 100 years if not destroy them completely. But I cannot and will not support the IOC's steamrolling of Japan's sovereignty and their violating travel bans and other restrictions that have ravaged the very people forced to pay for this bastardization of what the Olympics were intended to be. How fitting that Bach and Coates who insisted on visiting Hiroshima in the name of peace will soon after these Games visit one of the most repressive regimes the world has ever witnessed. Nor will I even try to forgive Suga and his band of fools who acted like the cowards who film a mugging of an elderly person but will not even try to stop the violence nor help the victim when the mugging ends. Despite endless SoE orders and businesses being shut down, taxes have been collected, services have been cut, and yet there is always spare money lying around for the elite swine. Nope, I am done with the Olympics. Athletes can still complete at the Worlds and other venues. Time to tax the IOC if not end it. Time to throw out Suga and anyone associated with him.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Well. As of the past week: When I see a foreigner. Wandering about (usually they come in pairs). With a puzzled look. As if just arriving in Japan. A good assumption is, they are associated with The Olympics. Especially, because where I live, strangers are easily identified. And simply by habit and routine, those who live here are fairly well known by sight. Strangers, foreigners, are easy to spot.

Atop that is somewhat bad behavior. Mask worn as a chin diaper. Talking loud. Not social distancing and crowding out others. Entering a grocery store or shop or restaurant without a mask.

And usually, thrice so far, I have asked. And the proud reply is, they are associated with the Olympics.

Probably not so easy to do so in Tokyo. But here, in the hinterlands where they are supposedly 'training'.

They are treated with courtesy - though I find myself loathing their presence - locals, however troubled they may be by such, let it go. But, they are fully aware, that their presence may cause the spread of the variant.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

This writer is out of touch with reality and most of this article is speculation or incorrect. His point about Japanese people haven’t had freedoms like the athletes will have since early 2020 sums it up for me.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Richard GallagherToday  01:44 pm JST

They are treated with courtesy - though I find myself loathing their presence - locals, however troubled they may be by such, let it go. But, they are fully aware, that their presence may cause the spread of the variant.

Is there a particular characteristic about them that makes you think they are likely to "cause the spread of the variant"?

As for the masks being worn incorrectly, have you been to Tokyo?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This writer is out of touch with reality and most of this article is speculation or incorrect.

We look forward to your rebuttal, with the same level of intellectual rigor and verifiable citations you bring to the ”Tokyo reports x new cases“ thread every day.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's not the finest journalism ever published here and definitely catering to a perceived opposition to the olympics with very flowery and emotive language. I'd definitely give it a C+ for journalism and an A for creative writing.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

In Japan there are many I know that have been affected by the SOE designations.

Many businesses closed down never to appear again

Wages lost but living expenses almost the same.

Government help to for small businesses and staff abysmal!

Yet, here is a massive sports event where money has been spent for whose benefit?

Well, the world is soon going to see what a two dimensional farce looks like.,,

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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