Tokyo 2020: Lagging to deliver

Published on January 26th, 2021

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics faces further uncertainty due to the Japanese Government’s COVID-19 vaccination plans, with its roll out not expected until late February. This would mean Japanese citizens would only start to receive vaccinations five months before the Games are set to start, on July 23.

Meanwhile, a growing number of people in the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Japan’s ruling party believe it will be necessary to extend the state of emergency for parts of the country continuing to see a high number of coronavirus cases.

The state of emergency, which entails urging the public to refrain from going outside unnecessarily and asking restaurants and bars to shorten their opening hours, could remain in place until the end of February rather than the current end date of February 7.

Suga has already admitted Japan’s medical system has been ill-prepared to deal with the surge in COVID-19 patients, acknowledging that more lives may have been saved had proper treatment been available.

The rare admission of fault comes as public support for Suga’s administration continues to dwindle amid mounting dissatisfaction with his pandemic response.

When the Games were postponed to 2021 in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was an all or nothing gamble that the health crisis would permit the competition. While Suga has suggested the vaccine will permit a safe event, Japan is lagging to deliver.

In December, the United Kingdom became the first nation to approve a vaccination, with the first person vaccinated on December 8. More than 50 nations are already administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Domestic trials are required in Japan before a vaccine can be granted approval. Japan has secured enough vaccines for all its citizens after agreeing deals with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna.

Pfizer is set to be approved in February, Moderna started its domestic trials on January 21 while AstraZeneca has completed a trial but has not yet filed for approval.

Suga also promised to provide “accurate information based on scientific findings, including side effects and efficacy” to address concerns of vaccine sceptics.

In a study by Lancet published in September, Japan ranked among the lowest of 149 countries surveyed about vaccine confidence, with less than 25 per cent of people agreeing on vaccine safety, importance and effectiveness.

Editor’s note: Florida has apparently reached out to the International Olympic Committee and offered to host the Summer Olympics amid speculation that current hosts Japan may back out. Makes sense, because where better could you match Tokyo’s horrid heat, humidity, and threat of tropical storm than Florida in July and August.

Source: InsidetheGames, KyodoNews

Tokyo Olympic Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

Original dates: July 24 to August 9, 2020
Revised dates: July 23 to August 8, 2021

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