Even sells alcohol to 10,000 spectators… Japan’s ‘NOlympic’ sparks anger

The Japanese government has decided to allow spectators to attend the Tokyo Olympic Games, which is a month away. Even in the midst of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) epidemic, the plan is to raise the ‘Olympic atmosphere’ properly, but experts continue to warn that “infection will re-spread due to excessive greed.” There are also growing voices criticizing the government, saying it is ‘self-righteousness and runaway’ that ignores the people’s anxiety.

On the 21st, protests spread against the decision to ‘accept less than 10,000 spectators’
Experts continue to point out that “infection re-spreads in the audience”
Anti-Olympic groups protest around the world on the 23rd

Citizens opposing the Olympic Games hold a protest near the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on the 14th. [로이터=연합뉴스]

On the 21st, the Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decided to accept 50% of the spectators for the Olympic Games, up to 10,000. . According to Japanese media, the decision strongly reflected the will of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. The IOC was in a position to “follow Japan’s decision” as far as the number of spectators was concerned, and the Japanese side, including the organizing committee, where ticket revenue was at stake, pushed to accept the audience.

Prime Minister Suga’s plan is to welcome spectators to the Olympics, renew the atmosphere stagnant due to COVID-19, and continue to revitalize the game after the Olympics. Based on the success of the Olympics, he must win the lower house election in the fall before he can be reappointed as prime minister.

There is also an analysis that the Japanese government put an unreasonable number of ‘acceptance of spectators’ in order to get rid of the card ‘suspend the Olympics’. Once the decision is made to accept audiences, even if the COVID-19 situation worsens in the future, it is possible to choose the ‘no audience’ card rather than ‘stop’.

The Japanese government plans to allow the sale of alcohol in the stadium as well as accepting the audience. In the case of the opening ceremony, a plan to allow up to 20,000 spectators to enter is also being considered.

Tokyo infections are on the rise again… in front of the ‘fifth epidemic’

However, according to experts, Japan’s COVID-19 situation is not at a stage where it can hold an ‘Olympic with spectators’. Prior to this decision, Shigeru Omi, chairman of the Japanese government’s COVID-19 countermeasures subcommittee, suggested on the 18th that “it is desirable to hold the event without spectators.” According to a research team at Kyoto University, when the floating population increases by 10% due to the Olympics, the number of new daily cases in Tokyo will exceed 1,000 in late July or early August, right after the opening.

Citizens attend a press conference for Prime Minister Suga in Tokyo, Japan, on the 17th. [AP=연합뉴스]

Citizens attend a press conference for Prime Minister Suga in Tokyo, Japan, on the 17th. [AP=연합뉴스]

In fact, the number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo has turned to increase again. On the 22nd, there were 435 new confirmed cases in Tokyo, an increase of 98 from Tuesday a week ago. For three days in a row, the number of confirmed cases increased compared to the same day the week before. Many experts see it as the beginning of the ‘fifth fad’.

This decision is also out of line with public opinion. In a poll released by the Asahi Shimbun on the 21st, 62% of respondents said that the Olympics should be canceled or postponed, and 53% said that it should be ‘no spectators’ at all. In a survey conducted by Kyodo News, 86.7% said that they felt anxious about the possibility of a re-spread of Corona 19 following the Olympics.

“The Olympics will become a symbol of self-righteousness and runaway”

The Asahi Shimbun, which had previously asked the government to “suspend the Olympics” through an editorial, said on the 22nd that it was not convinced by the government’s decision to accept the audience, “If we proceed as it is, the Olympics will not be ‘proof of overcoming Corona’ rather than ‘a symbol of self-righteousness and runaway “It could be,” he criticized.

A citizen takes a picture near the Olympic Sculpture in Tokyo on the 9th. [EPA=연합뉴스]

A citizen takes a picture near the Olympic Sculpture in Tokyo on the 9th. [EPA=연합뉴스]

The Mainichi Shimbun also pointed out that the opinion of experts calling for the event to be held without spectators was not properly accepted and that it was “an irresponsible judgment that neglected safety.” Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Association Chairman Haruo Ozaki, who had recommended “no audience” to the government the day before, strongly objected to Mainichi on the same day, saying, “The government’s decision is incomprehensible.”

On the 23rd, one month before the opening, six civic groups in Japan that have continued anti-Olympic protests are scheduled to hold a large-scale demonstration around the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. June 23 is also ‘Olympic Day’, the anniversary of the founding of the IOC by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1894. Under the slogan of ‘NOlympic Day’, they plan to hold several simultaneous protests not only in Japan but also in Paris, France, Los Angeles (LA), and Pyeongchang, Korea in connection with foreign anti-Olympic groups.

Tokyo = Correspondent Lee Young-hee [email protected]


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