While the advertisers and networks with contracts to carry the 2021 summer Olympics from Tokyo are most desirous of moving forward with the games there is a growing and louder pushback from many in Japan. Also from the medical professionals and scientists around the globe. Certainly, the many athletes and the years of preparation for their moment on the world stage are not to be taken lightly, but the possible dire consequences of holding the Games and further spreading the COVID virus must supersede all other issues.
The fact that only 5 percent of the Japanese population is vaccinated, and scores of nations worldwide are unable to get the volume of doses required to protect their citizens, raises alarms. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is facing a nation that is simply not interested in have the Games on their soil at this time. Polls show that in Japan 60-80% want them called off.
Just this past Friday the Japanese government decided to extend a state of emergency until June 20th as COVID cases continue to put their medical system under much heavy strain. As such, the leader is confronted with a determined array of medical, political, and business leaders calling for the Games not to be held this year.
What is at stake are the 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from more than 200 countries and territories flying into Japan, gathering, competing, and going back to places that, sadly in too many cases, do not have the capacity to vaccinate their citizens. Let us also not forget the tens of thousands of judges, officials, VIPs, media members, and broadcasters will also have to enter Japan.
And then return home.
The threat that holding the Olympics, as now planned, could lead to the spread of variants such as the ones we know about from India, Britain, South Africa, Brazil, and now as of this weekend, Vietnam. Polls in places such as South Korea, which shows dread about the games, underscores that this health issue is one that not only Japan needs to consider.
The citizens of Japan do have a right to be concerned and to express their displeasure with how their health is being placed on the same level with the needs of all those who would make money, or lose it, should the games not be held. There is no denying why they feel that way.
It is reported in Japan there are many of the Olympic administration officials booked into Tokyo’s top five-star hotels during the games. That is how we spread a virus.
That is why at this point, with too many not yet vaccinated around the world, the Summer Games need to be postponed.
And so it goes.