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Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Postponements, Concerned Sponsors, and Online Petition to Cancel


(CNN Spanish) – The Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan, this year, have gone through several setbacks such as a one-year postponement due to a global pandemic, to medical concerns about covid-19 infections, the health of volunteers, an anti-Olympics movement, as well as concerns of the main sponsors.

The controversies have not stopped: first, new guidelines prevent athletes from protesting. Then, in the midst of a pandemic only in a century, the Olympics were postponed for a year, a decision that cost millions of millions of dollars. Later, to avoid an increase in infections, the arrival of international audiences to the games was prohibited. And more recently, an anti-Olympic campaign is calling for the 2021 games to be canceled.

Here’s what we know about the Tokyo Olympics, which will kick off on July 23, 2021.

The Tokyo Olympics

This is the second time the Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan, which previously hosted the Games in 1964. Tokyo led a failed attempt to host the 2016 Olympics.

The 1972 and 1998 Winter Games were also hosted by Japan, in Sapporo and Nagano, respectively.

For the Tokyo Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) included five new sports: skateboarding, karate, surfing, sport climbing, and baseball / softball.

Between 2017 and 2019, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee launched its “Everyone’s Medal” campaign. With this he asked citizens to donate devices that could be stripped of their metals for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. More than 6 million used cell phones are collected, or about 79,000 tons of used cell phones and other small electronic devices.

In July 2019 the medals with a new design were presented. They have the appearance of stone and are 8.5 centimeters in diameter. All the medals will be produced from gold, silver and bronze (in this case, copper and zinc) extracted from donated cell phones and other electronic devices.

Games are postponed

The coronavirus pandemic took over the world in early 2020. Amid a pandemic for the Games to be canceled or postponed, and initial pressure to delay the Olympics, the games were finally postponed until 2021.

More than a year after this controversy, with more than 161 million cases worldwide since the start of the pandemic, and more than 3.3 million deaths, the International Olympic Committee recently reaffirmed that the Olympics will take place. this year in Japan, and supported the country’s measures to combat covid-19. This as Japan battles an increase in coronavirus infections.

Japan extended the state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May, forcing the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, to postpone a visit to Japan recently.

Why were the Tokyo Olympics postponed? 1:56

Japan Doctors Union Calls For Olympics To Be Canceled

A union of doctors in Japan has urged the government to cancel the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Union members went to the Japanese Ministry of Health on Thursday to submit a written request addressed to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

“It is difficult for athletes, but someone has to say that the Games should be canceled. We made the request (to the government) because we believe that medical workers have to speak, ”Naoto Ueyama, director of the national doctors union, said at a press conference on Thursday.

In the written request, Ueyama warned that the Games could become a wide-spread event as tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, officials and journalists come to Japan from all over the world. Ueyama said that even if there are no spectators, the event could lead to the circulation of vaccine-resistant variants. “It is impossible to hold a safe and secure Olympic Games against coronavirus,” wrote Ueyama.

Ueyama added that Japan’s vaccination rate is the lowest among OECD countries. He also added that anger and confusion are rampant among healthcare workers in Japan, forced to work overtime to combat the pandemic.

They denounce lack of protection measures against covid

Volunteers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games denounced the lack of protection measures. When asked how officials would be protected, organizers said they would each be given a small bottle of hand sanitizer and two masks.

“They don’t talk about vaccines, they don’t even talk about getting tested,” said German volunteer Barbara Holthus, director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo.

With 100 days until the start of the Olympic Games, which have already been postponed a year due to the new coronavirus pandemic, questions remain about how Tokyo can hold a massive sporting event and keep volunteers, athletes, officials and the Japanese public at bay. except for covid-19.

Japan says it expects to have applied 100 million doses of vaccines by the end of June. To date, it has put 5.5 million doses, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Anti-Olympic campaign collects hundreds of thousands of signatures

An online petition that was launched on May 5, asking for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics it has collected more than 352,000 signatures so far and was handed over to an official in the Tokyo governor’s office, the campaign organizer said on May 14.

“I started this petition because I wanted to take steps to convey the public opinion of the people,” said Kenji Utsunomiya, the main organizer of the campaign. “I would like people to sign this petition to protect people’s lives.”

Olympians, no foreigners

In March 2021, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said foreign spectators wishing to attend this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games will be denied entry to Japan. Organizers said all tickets purchased by overseas residents for the postponed Games, scheduled to start on July 23, will be refunded.

The decision was made after a virtual meeting between the “Five Parties”: the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the Government of Japan, with the IOC and IPC saying they “fully respect and accept this conclusion.”

“Given the current pandemic situation, it is highly unlikely that entry to Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from abroad,” they said.

Sponsors express concerns for Olympics

Almost two months after the start of the Olympics, several sponsors have expressed their concerns about the realization of the sports mega-event.

For one thing, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son told CNBC on Thursday that he was “scared” for both Japan and other countries if the Tokyo Olympics would go ahead as planned this summer.

“I am very afraid of having the Olympic Games, not only for Japan but for many countries. They are going through a difficult situation. I don’t know how they can support sending athletes, ”Son said.

And in an earnings call on Wednesday, sponsors said they were “concerned” by public frustration directed at athletes as plans for the Tokyo Summer Olympics advance despite rising covid-19 infections in Japan and the tensions in the country’s medical systems.

Meanwhile, the United States Track and Field Team (USATF) announced Wednesday that it had canceled its pre-Olympic training camp in Japan, citing uncertainty surrounding the competition.

The decision is made when at least 35 of the 528 Olympic “host cities” in Japan have canceled agreements to host athletes during the Games.

The “Host City” project is set up to host athletes from 184 countries in Japan for cultural and training programs.

On Wednesday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams assured reporters that plans to host the full games are going ahead, despite growing public concern.

Japan is battling another wave of COVID-19 infections and reported a total of 653,363 confirmed cases and 11,045 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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