Tokyo Olympics Is Going to Open without Further Delay


Thomas Yoon, Staff Writer

There are fewer than 40 days remaining until the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The rapid spread of coronavirus in 2020 has forced Japan to consider postponing, or even canceling the Olympics. Following former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe’s agreement with IOC president Thomas Bach to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2021, it was expected that the Olympics would be held no later than the summer of 2021. The Japanese government and Olympics organizing committee is showing a strong will to open the Tokyo Olympics on July 23rd despite the low rate of vaccination of the Japanese population.

Both international and domestic circumstances are pressuring the Japanese government and the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Olympics. According to the BBC, Taiwanese and the Australian baseball teams have declared that they will withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics due to the high risk of infection and their concerns for the health of the athletes. Canadian Olympics committee has also made a “difficult decision” to withdraw its athletes from Tokyo Olympics, claiming that “nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community.” As reported by Reuters, Japanese people are also growing increasingly concerned about the potential spread of Covid-19 throughout the Olympics, as Tokyo and nine other regions are currently under a state of emergency due to a significant increase of severe coronavirus cases. It has been reported by The Guardian that more than 80% of Japanese oppose hosting the Tokyo Olympics under current circumstances and uncertainty. Furthermore, according to Japan Times, the recent suicide death of the senior official of the Japanese Olympic Committee has increased the tension and fear of inconsiderate enforcement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Moreover, Japan is currently facing financial problems due to its ever-increasing cost and the lack of profit. Business Insider speculated that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics would cost more than $26 billion, which makes it the most costly summer Olympics in history. And, as reported by Reuters, Japan’s earlier decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics to 2021 has already cost them an extra $3.5 billion. In addition, the Japanese government and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) reached a conclusion to prohibit foreign spectators in the stadium worsens the financial situation of the Tokyo Olympics. The Olympics was expected to bring Japan a fortune of $300 billion due to an increase of both domestic and international tourists to Tokyo. However, due to the Japanese population’s unwillingness to travel without vaccination and the ban of foreign tourists and spectators, it seems that the Tokyo Olympics would bring more harm than good to the Japanese economy.

However, because the Japanese government has already invested an astronomical amount of money for the upcoming Olympics, it is, according to Reuters, unlikely that the Japanese government would postpone or cancel the event. “We cannot postpone again,” said Seiko Hashimoto, the organizing committee president. “I believe that the possibility of these Games going on is 100% that we will do this,” she added. It would be important for the Japanese government and the IOC to fully recognize the threats posed by the virus and prioritize the health of the athletes throughout the Olympics.