Agreed to reconvene Olympic Five-Party Talks
The Emperor’s declaration of the opening of the Olympics
Reports on ‘except for congratulations’
Suga “challenge” means completion
Two days before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, players and officials of the national team have been infected with COVID-19. The possibility of the Olympic Games being canceled midway was officially discussed. It seems that confusion will continue even after the start of the competition.
The tournament organizing committee announced on the 21st that one official from the Czech beach volleyball team who was staying at the athletes’ village was confirmed. Earlier, a male player of the Czech beach volleyball team was confirmed to be infected. The number of infected people has risen to 75 since the organizing committee announced on the 1st of last month that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 related to the Olympics was announced.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tokyo today stood at 1,832, an increase of 683 from the same day last week. If this trend continues, in the first week of August, the number of COVID-19 infections in Tokyo is expected to rise to nearly 3,000.
The possibility of the Olympics being canceled midway was also officially mentioned. Toshiro Muto, secretary-general of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee, said at a press conference the day before, “We are not ruling out the possibility of canceling the Olympics if the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increases, more athletes become infected, and more sponsors will not attend the opening ceremony.” reported on the 20th (local time). “We have agreed to reconvene the Olympic Five-Party Talks depending on the COVID-19 situation,” he said.
The Olympic Five-Party Talks include the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Games Organizing Committee, the Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The right to cancel the Olympics rests with the IOC.
Earlier, Toyota, Japan’s representative company and the biggest sponsor of the Olympics, said it would not attend the opening ceremony and would not advertise on TV related to the Olympics, saying it was an “incomprehensible Olympics.”
The number of heads of state attending the opening ceremony is expected to be less than 20. Top-level figures who will visit Japan for the Olympics include French President Emmanuel Macron, who will host the 2024 Paris Olympics, and Mongolia’s Prime Minister Oh Yun-Elden. First Lady Jill Biden will also visit Japan in place of US President Joe Biden. Business figures such as Keidanren, chairman of a Japanese economic group, and representative of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also declared their absence one after another.
Kyodo News reported that the phrase ‘congratulations’ may be omitted from the opening statement of Emperor Naruhito (德仁) of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This is because he was conscious of public opinion against the Olympics in Japan amid the spread of COVID-19.
The Japanese government is determined to complete the Olympics. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on the 21st, “I’ve heard a lot of advice that it is best to cancel the Olympics. The simplest and easiest thing is to quit, but the role of the government is to challenge it.” Prime Minister Suga cited the case of the UK, which hosted the Wimbledon tennis tournament and related soccer matches, saying, “Comparing the number of infected people with other countries (Japan), the total number of infected people (Japan) is much lower.”