Olympics: too late to cancel, Japan “trapped”?

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Tokyo trapped by the olympics. At least this is the opinion issued on Friday June 4 by a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee. While the sporting event is due to begin in just seven weeks in Japan, he felt that, if it was now too late to cancel, the competition had nonetheless “lost its meaning”. His country is therefore “trapped” by the Olympic Games. These have been postponed for a year due to the global coronavirus pandemic. They were supposed to be held in 2020, but will ultimately take place between July 23 and August 8. Some athletes have already arrived.

A program on which the Olympic authorities, the organizers of Tokyo 2020 and the Japanese government insist. And this, despite the health situation and the opposition of a majority of citizens. “I think we have already missed the opportunity to cancel them,” said the former judoka and member of the Japanese Olympic committee Kaori Yamaguchi, in a column published by the Kyodo agency. “We found ourselves trapped in a situation where we can not stop anything now”, judges the bronze medalist at the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988, adding: “The Games have already lost their meaning and are maintained just because it is. should. ”

Kaori Yamaguchi’s salvo against the Japanese executive and the IOC

The former athlete criticizes the attitude of the Japanese government, the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which “seem to want to avoid dialogue”. “Weren’t the Olympics supposed to be a festival of peace? She asks. “The opposite of peace is a tough and stubborn approach of saying ‘people may be against it, but they will change their mind when the Games start”, ”Kaori Yamaguchi castigates. “The IOC seems to think that public opinion in Japan is not important,” she regrets.

According to multiple polls, the Japanese population is mostly against holding the Games this summer, fearing that the event will worsen the health situation, while 10 of the Archipelago’s 47 departments remain under a state of emergency. IOC Vice-President John Coates said last month that the Olympics would take place even if Tokyo were to be under a state of emergency. The vaccination campaign in Japan, which started in February, has been widely criticized for its slowness. Although it has shown signs of accelerating in recent days, only 3% of the Japanese population has received their two doses of the vaccine. The main medical adviser to the Japanese government, Shigeru Omi, warned the Japanese parliament on Friday that the country should avoid hosting the Games if the state of emergency is extended beyond June 20.

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