Analysis. Postponed for a year, the Tokyo Games, which are due to start on July 23, will be a first in the history of Olympism. Not only because they will take place in times of pandemic but above all because, far from being the symbol of harmony – which Japan makes a feature of national culture – they will open under the sign of discord. : Eight in ten Japanese oppose their behavior, polls indicate.
The stubbornness of the government of Yoshihide Suga and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to maintain the Games is on the way to opening up a latent political crisis. Procrastination, off-schedule measures, reversals and differences between the provincial governors worried about the deterioration of the situation on the ground, and the central government, prisoner of the commitment to the IOC, are the ingredients.
Since the beginning of May, the Archipelago has been facing a new wave of contagion. Departments are placed, one after the other, in a state of emergency and the media denounce the erratic policy of the government described as“Inept” through Asahi, which, on May 26, was the first national daily, official partner of the Olympic Games, to urge the government to respect the “Legitimate concern” of the population and to cancel.
“Impossible to reconcile public health and competitions”
The Prime Minister’s interventions are hardly convincing and his popularity is sluggish. “I believe that it is possible to organize the Olympic Games in complete health security”, he repeats as if chanting a sutra. ” Impossible mission “, slice on television the media businessman Hiroshi Mikitani, founder of the largest Japanese e-commerce group, Rakuten.
In terms of the number of victims of Covid-19, Japan is certainly in an enviable position compared to other members of the G7: 12,500 deaths since the start of the pandemic and more than 720,000 patients out of 126 million inhabitants. But two-thirds of the cases of contamination and death occurred in the first five months of the year. Hospitals, close to saturation for severe cases, must refuse patients and delay treatment or operations for patients suffering from other symptoms.
Not just the slogan ” The Olympic Games, symbol of victory over the virus “ launched by Mr. Suga at the start of his mandate – last September – is no longer appropriate, but the holding of the Games is the focus of growing discontent. So much so that at the Diet, the Prime Minister felt obliged to affirm that he “Do not place the Olympics before the health of the population “. According to Democratic opposition leader Yukio Edano, “It is impossible to reconcile public health and competition”.
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