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Tokyo 2020: Half empty, Half full

Published on May 26th, 2021

The lead up to most Olympics have some “sky is falling” narrative… remember the crime, Zika, and pollution prior to Rio 2016? However, COVID-19 has raised the bar, and while cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Olympics seems unlikely, in part due to the massive financial implications, it remains a topic. Here are two updates:

• The 11th and final meeting (May 19-21) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 concluded with the contention in how the Games will be safe for everyone participating and the Japanese people.

“After nearly eight years of hard work and planning, the finish line is within touching distance,” said John Coates, the Chair of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. “It is testament to the hard work of the Tokyo 2020 organisers, including the Japanese Government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese people, that we are able to look towards the Opening Ceremony on 23 July with such confidence.”

Following Coates’ remarks, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko HASHIMOTO said: “It has now been three months since my appointment as President, and just two months remain until the opening of the Games. Preparations for safe and secure Games are proceeding steadily, but I am aware that we must work all the harder to ensure that the people of Tokyo and Japan also feel that sense of safety and security.” – Full report

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper on May 26 called for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled with the games set to open in less than two months. It is the first of Japan’s major newspapers to make the move and joins some regional newspapers that have recently added to the growing opposition to holding the Olympics.

Coming out against the Olympics could be significant since the newspaper, like many in Japan, is a sponsor of the postponed Tokyo Games that are scheduled to open on July 23. Asahi is typically liberal-leaning and often opposes the ruling party led by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

“We cannot think it’s rational to host the Olympics in the city this summer,” the newspaper said in its editorial.

“Distrust and backlash against the reckless national government, Tokyo government and stakeholders in the Olympics are nothing but escalating,” the editorial added. “We demand Prime Minister Suga to calmly evaluate the circumstances and decide the cancellation of the summer event.”

Asahi has a morning circulation reported at 5.16 million, and 1.55 million for its evening edition. It is second in circulation behind Yomiuri Shimbun, and subsequently is the second largest circulating newspaper in the world behind Yomiuri. – Full report

Tokyo 2020 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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