What will happen to the Olympics?
Concerns over the safety of conducting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have steadily increased over the past few weeks as COVID-19 shows no signs of receding. What was initially believed to be a small outbreak with no long-lasting international effects, has become a considerable danger, as the World Health Organization escalates its risk level to “very high.” The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were to begin on the 24th of July, in Tokyo, Japan. However, with the unexpected outbreak of COVID-19, and its prolonged presence as a sizable risk has brought the fate of this event to question.
Japan’s Current Situation
Japan was one of the first contractors of the virus apart from China. Despite its efforts, many have been infected thereafter. Currently, there are 226 official reported cases, which is much lower than its neighboring countries. However, the government’s actions tell a different story. This week, Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, asked organizers of sporting and cultural events to postpone or cancel upcoming activities in the following two weeks. Furthermore, public schools were ordered to close as a precaution, reflecting a reality much more serious than what the numbers claim. However, without an official statement from the government regarding the issue, any additional claims would be limited to speculations.
Anime Japan, a convention that started in 2014, is one of the largest cultural conventions that take place in Tokyo. This year’s event, which was to take place late March, was completely cancelled.
Experts Speak Up
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Richard W. Pound estimated that officials would have until late May to make a decision. When asked about the cancellation of the Olympics, he simply commented that cancellation would mean worsening of the epidemic. However, following uproar in the sporting world and a response from the organizers in Tokyo and the Japanese government, he clarified that his comments did not represent the IOC’s collective view.
Although not explicitly, the activities of corporations often reflect the reality of a situation. Such an example is visible in the attitude of Discovery, the producer through which 58% of the European market watched the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Discovery stated this week that its insurance would protect against possible losses if the Olympics were to be cancelled, demonstrating that cancellation is not completely off the table, and that it is still in the minds of involved companies.
Richard W. Pound, member of the International Olympic Committee and former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
It is still much too early to come to a conclusion, with five months still left until the games begin. However, the decision has to be made no later than late May, and various companies and affiliated parties have shown concern over the event of a cancellation, which tells the public that cancellation could be a reality, instead of a faraway speculation.
Categories: World News