The Japanese people, who mostly oppose holding the Games, aren’t buying either message. The nuclear cleanup is far from complete, and the Games are being held amid a state of emergency as coronavirus cases have reached a six-month high in Tokyo. Those increases have been compounded by daily announcements of positive cases in the Olympic Village, reminding everyone of the enduring power of the virus.
And with spectators barred from all but a few events, there is little upside for hotels, restaurants, retailers and other businesses.
“I feel sorry for the tourism business or hotels,” said Ikuzo Tamura, 84, who sold commemorative cloth wraps in the Olympic Stadium in 1964. “They don’t have the same opportunity as we did. I don’t think someone should be blamed, but in this situation, people have no choice but to endure.”
At this point, Japan’s best hope may be to showcase its crisis management skills by pulling off the events without any large-scale outbreaks.
“Whether you agree or not with the Japanese government, these Games are going ahead with a very high degree of risk,” said Roy Tomizawa, author of “1964: The Greatest Year in the History of Japan.”
“It’s like Simone Biles attempting a double pike, a move that no other woman will do except for Simone Biles,” he added. “I don’t know how many countries would have gone ahead with this.”