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Thread: Tokyo Olympics

  1. #151
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    Postpone the Game to no more than a year later is the best and wise option. It is a very sad and very difficult decision to be made.



    Regards,

    KC
    Hong Kong

  2. #152
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    I should change the title of this thread from 2020 to 2021

    Tokyo Olympics will go ahead 'with or without Covid' - IOC's Coates
    AFP
    Martin PARRY
    AFPSep 6, 2020, 10:50 PM



    Tokyo's postponed Olympics will go ahead next year regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, IOC vice president John Coates told AFP Monday, vowing they will be the "Games that conquered Covid".

    The Olympics have never been cancelled outside of the world wars and Coates, speaking in a phone interview, was adamant that the Tokyo Games will start on their revised date.

    "It will take place with or without Covid. The Games will start on July 23 next year," said Coates, who heads the International Olympic Committee's Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games.

    "The Games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami," he said, referring to a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan in 2011.

    "Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel."

    In a landmark decision, the 2020 Olympics were postponed because of the global march of the pandemic and they are now set to open on July 23, 2021.

    But Japan's borders are still largely closed to foreign visitors and a vaccine is months or even years away, feeding speculation about whether the Games are feasible at all.

    Japanese officials have made clear they would not delay them a second time beyond 2021.

    There are signs that public enthusiasm in Japan is waning after a recent poll found just one in four Japanese want them to go ahead next year, with most backing either another postponement or a cancellation.


    - 'Monumental task' -

    Coates said the Japanese government "haven't dropped the baton at all" following the postponement, despite the "monumental task" of putting the event back a year.

    "Before Covid, (IOC president) Thomas Bach said this is the best prepared Games we've ever seen, the venues were almost all finished, they are now finished, the village is amazing, all the transport arrangements, everything is fine," he said.

    "Now it's been postponed by one year, that's presented a monumental task in terms of re-securing all the venues... something like 43 hotels we had to get out of those contracts and re-negotiate for a year later.

    "Sponsorships had to be extended a year, broadcast rights."

    With much of that work underway, or accomplished, a task force has been set up to look at the different scenarios in 2021 -- from how border controls will affect the movement of athletes, to whether fans can pack venues and how to keep stadiums safe.

    The group, comprising Japanese and IOC officials, met for the first time last week.

    "Their job now is to look at all the different counter-measures that will be required for the Games to take place," said Coates, the long-time president of the Australian Olympic Committee.

    "Some countries will have it (Covid) under control, some won't. We'll have athletes therefore coming from places where it's under control and some where it is not.

    "There's 206 teams... so there's a massive task being undertaken on the Japanese side."

    Tokyo 2020 chief Toshiro Muto on Friday repeated that organisers hoped to avoid a Games without spectators -- an option that has been mooted given Japan is still limiting audiences at sports events.

    While the country is cautiously reopening its economy, with professional baseball, football and sumo resuming in front of limited numbers of fans, the nation continues to see a steady stream of new coronavirus cases.

    Japan has already ploughed billions of dollars into the Olympics, with the delay only adding to the cost.

    Coates said the IOC was doing its part, putting in "something like an extra $800 million to support the international federations, whose income isn't happening this year, and national Olympic Committees".

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  3. #153
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    Privately cancelled

    JAN. 21, 2021
    Japan Reportedly ‘Privately Concludes’ to Cancel the 2021 Olympic Games Due To Coronavirus

    By Chris Murphy@christress

    Photo: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett
    First Glastonbury, now this. In sobering news after yesterday’s inauguration festivities, Japan has reportedly decided to cancel the 2021 Olympics due to coronavirus. On Thursday, January 21, the Times reported that the Japanese government has “privately concluded” to cancel the already once-postponed 2021 Olympics because of surging cases of COVID-19 across the world. Per the report written by Richard Lloyd Parry, Japan is trying to find a “face-saving way” to announce the decision that also “leaves open the possibility of Tokyo playing host at a later date.” Apparently, Japan’s new focus is to lock in 2032, the next available year, to host the games in Tokyo, which were originally scheduled to begin on July 24, 2020 and then rescheduled to begin on July 23, 2021. “No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” a source told Lloyd Parry. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

    However, as of now the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) would beg to differ. Earlier that same day, the I.O.C. released a statement claiming that the 2021 Olympics would go on as planned this summer. “We have, at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on 23 July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo,” said I.O.C. president Thomas Bach. “This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these Games safe and successful.” While Back was firm about the 2021 Tokyo Olympics happening, he did hint at potentially reducing the number of spectators as well as other employing other precautions in order to ensure everyone’s safety.“ The priority is the safety,” Bach told Kyodo News. “When it comes to safety, then there can be no taboo.”

    Publicly, the I.O.C and Japanese Olympic organizers have tried to assure the public that the 2021 Olympic games will happen, with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga calling the forthcoming Olympics “a proof of human victory against the coronavirus.” But senior I.O.C. member Dick Pound cast some doubt as to whether the event will actually take place, stating, “I can’t be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus.” So, TBD whether or not we ever get to see Simone Biles defy gravity again or if coronavirus will rob us of that as well.
    And just like that, Karate suffers a worse Olympic fate than Wushu.
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  4. #154
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    I lived in Kobe until recently amazing place, so sad the Olympics will not happen

  5. #155
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    no singing

    Tokyo Olympic Games 2020
    Olympic organisers to ban singing in silent Tokyo Games
    Competitors must take Covid test 72 hours before departure
    Told not to use public transport on arrival in Tokyo

    The first version of a playbook of Covid virus safety rules organisers say will ensure the Tokyo Olympic Games can be held from July. Photograph: Du Xiaoyi/AFP/Getty Images
    Justin McCurry in Tokyo
    Wed 3 Feb 2021 07.46 EST

    The organisers of the 2020 Olympics are planning a silent Games in Tokyo, with bans on singing and chanting among a list of restrictions officials say will protect athletes, staff and the public from coronavirus.

    The IOC’s first “Covid playbook”, published on Wednesday, is aimed at sports federations and technical officials, but similar measures designed to prevent the Games from becoming a superspreader event are expected to apply to athletes – and possibly spectators – when the Olympics open on 23 July.

    The playbook says visitors should “support athletes by clapping and not singing or chanting”, while athletes will be subject to testing a minimum of once every four days while they are in Tokyo. All visitors will be required to present proof of a recent negative test upon arrival in Japan, but vaccination will not be a condition of participating in the Games, which were postponed for a year last March as the pandemic began its spread across the globe.

    Athletes and officials will not be permitted to use public transport without permission, must also wear face masks when appropriate, and practice social distancing. Exceptions will be made for when athletes are eating, sleeping or outside.

    Despite speculation the postponed Games could be called off as a result of the pandemic, the IOC’s executive director, Christophe Dubi, said he was confident the guidelines would ensure the safety of everyone involved. “The health and safety of everyone at the Olympic and Paralympic Games are our top priority,” he said. “We each have our part to play. That’s why these playbooks have been created – with the rules that will make each and every one of us a sound, safe and active contributor to the Games.”

    Dubi added that Tokyo 2020 “will be remembered as a historic moment for humanity, the Olympic movement and all those contributing to their success”.

    Craig Spence, of the International Paralympic Committee, said the world knew much more about the virus – and how to contain it – than it did when the Games were postponed. “The thousands of international sports events that have taken place safely over the last year have given us valuable learning experiences,” he said.

    “Combining this new knowledge with existing knowhow has enabled us to develop these playbooks, which will be updated with greater detail ahead of the Games.”

    Detailed guidelines for broadcasters, athletes and the media will be released in the coming days.

    While a decision on whether to allow fans to attend is not expected for a few months, anyone watching the events will be told to refrain from singing or shouting and to show their support by applauding instead.


    A man stands in front of a countdown clock for the Tokyo Games on Wednesday. Photograph: Koji Sasahara/AP
    Athletes and officials will be banned from visiting bars, restaurants and tourist spots in Tokyo and will only be permitted to travel on official transport between the venues and their accommodations. The playbook warns them they could be ejected from the Games for serious or repeated violations of the rules.

    “We draw to your attention that risks and impacts may not be fully eliminated and that you agree to attend … at your own risk,” the playbook says. “We trust that these measures are proportionate to mitigate the above-mentioned risks and impacts and we fully count on your support to comply with them. Non-respect of the rules … may expose you to consequences that may have an impact on your participation … [and] your access to Games venues.

    “Repeated or serious failures to comply with these rules may result in the withdrawal of your accreditation and right to participate.”

    Japan has been hit less severely by the pandemic than many other comparable countries, with fewer than 6,000 deaths recorded. But a recent surge in cases last month forced the government to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and other hard-hit regions that is due to last until early March and to close its borders to non-resident foreigners.

    There is growing concern that an influx of 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes, as well as large number of sponsors, officials and other Games-related staff will spread the virus. Opinion polls show that a large majority of Japanese people do not want the Olympics to go ahead.

    The playbook was released as medical officials in Tokyo warned that doctors and nurses treating Covid-19 patients would not have the time to volunteer at the Olympics. Satoru Arai, the director of the Tokyo Medical Association, said staff were under too much pressure to even consider signing up for Olympic duty.

    “No matter how I look at it, it’s impossible,” he told Reuters. “I’m hearing doctors who initially signed up to volunteer say there’s no way they can take time off to help when their hospitals are completely overwhelmed.”

    Games organisers and the Tokyo metropolitan government have asked the association to secure more than 3,500 medical staff for the event.

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  6. #156
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    Nbc

    NBC to air Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony in first live morning broadcast
    By OlympicTalkFeb 10, 2021, 9:07 AM EST

    NBC Olympics

    NBC airs its first-ever live morning broadcast of an Olympic Opening Ceremony from Tokyo as part of unprecedented daylong network coverage of the first Friday of an Olympics on July 23.

    The Tokyo Opening Ceremony starts at 8 p.m. locally, which will be 7 a.m. Eastern time. NBC’s broadcast coverage that morning starts at 6:55 ET and is live across all time zones.

    The four-hour Opening Ceremony broadcast will be followed by five more consecutive hours of Olympic programming on NBC. It starts with a special two-hour TODAY at 11 a.m. ET and 8 a.m. PT, featuring Opening Ceremony reaction and athlete interviews.

    That’s succeeded by NBC’s first-ever Olympic daytime show on an opening Friday of the Games at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

    NBC’s primetime Opening Ceremony presentation is at 7:30 ET/4:30 PT, followed by an overnight replay.

    “Following the unprecedented challenges presented by the global pandemic, the world will come together in Tokyo for what could be the most meaningful and anticipated Opening Ceremony ever,” Pete Bevacqua, Chairman, NBC Sports Group, said in a press release. “Given the magnitude of this event, we want to provide viewers with as many ways to connect to it as possible, live or in primetime.”

    In all, it’s 18 total hours of Olympic programming on NBC in a 22-hour span to kick off the largest Olympics in history.

    “We are delighted to offer live coverage of the Opening Ceremony for those who want immediacy, and, later in the day, build on NBC Olympics’ terrific primetime legacy with a full celebration of these much anticipated Tokyo Olympics, complete with expert analysis and enhanced coverage of Team USA,” said Molly Solomon, Executive Producer and President, NBC Olympics Production.

    The Tokyo Games have a record 339 events with the first medals awarded on Saturday, July 24.

    Non-medal competition starts Wednesday, July 21 with preliminary soccer and softball games that will be part of NBC Olympics’ comprehensive multi-platform coverage.

    NBC Olympic Broadcast Schedule on July 23

    Eastern Time

    6:55-11 a.m. Live Opening Ceremony Coverage
    11 a.m.-1 p.m. Special Edition of TODAY
    1-4 p.m. Tokyo Olympics Daytime
    7:30 p.m.-12 a.m. Primetime Opening Ceremony
    12:35-5 a.m. Overnight Replay of Opening Ceremony
    Pacific Time

    3:55-8 a.m. Live Opening Ceremony Coverage
    8-10 a.m. Special Edition of TODAY
    10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tokyo Olympics Daytime
    4:30-9 p.m. Primetime Opening Ceremony
    9:10 p.m.-1:10 a.m. Opening Ceremony Primetime Encore
    1:10-5 a.m. Overnight Replay of Opening Ceremony
    I'm really hoping this comes together.
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  7. #157
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    Sad but understandable

    MARCH 21, 202111:40 PM UPDATED 9 HOURS AGO
    International spectators to be barred from Olympics in Japan
    By Sakura Murakami

    4 MIN READ

    (This Mar 20 story corrects figure in second paragraph to 30,000 Paralympic tickets, not 300,000)

    TOKYO (Reuters) - International spectators will not be allowed to enter Japan for this summer’s Olympic Games amid public concerns over coronavirus, organisers said on Saturday, crushing many fans’ hopes and setting the stage for a drastically scaled-back event.

    Some 600,000 Olympic tickets purchased by overseas residents will be refunded, as will another 30,000 Paralympic tickets, Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, told a news conference.

    He declined to say how much the refunds would cost.

    The Olympic Games were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the outbreak has chilled public opinion toward the event, both organisers and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have vowed to press ahead with the Games, now scheduled to take place on July 23-Aug. 8, with the Paralympics on Aug. 24-Sept. 5.

    The decision on international spectators will “ensure safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public,” Tokyo 2020 organisers said in a statement following five-way talks that included the head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and the Tokyo governor.

    “People who are involved in the Olympics in some way may be allowed to enter the country, whereas regular visitors will not be able to,” Tokyo 2020’s Muto said.

    He said costs for hotel cancellations would not be covered. Organisers may also consider cutting the number of staff members who will participate in the Games.

    Bach said he shared the disappointment of Olympic fans as well as the families and friends of athletes who had planned to travel to Tokyo.

    “For this I’m truly sorry. We know that this is a great sacrifice for everybody. We have said from the very beginning of this pandemic that it will require sacrifices,” Bach said in a statement.

    But he said safety had to come first, adding, “I know that our Japanese partners and friends did not reach this conclusion lightly”.


    FILE PHOTO: A man looks at his mobile phone next to The Olympic rings in front of the Japan Olympics Museum in Tokyo, Japan, March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov//File Photo

    “Together with them, the IOC’s top priority was, is and remains to organise safe Olympic and Paralympic Games for everyone,” Bach said.

    Media polls have shown that a majority of the Japanese public are wary about letting in international spectators to watch the Games as the country grapples with the tail-end of a third wave of the pandemic.

    STRIPPED-DOWN GAMES
    A stripped-down Games means the government will not get the tourism boom it had long counted on. Japan has grown increasingly reliant on foreign tourists, particularly from Asia, to bolster its weak domestic economy.

    Like other countries, it has seen tourism unravel with the pandemic and its hotels and restaurants have been hit hard.

    Saturday’s decision did not cover local spectators. Muto said organisers will decide next month on caps for spectators in venues.

    “It’s very unfortunate,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said of the decision on international spectators, speaking to reporters after the meeting.

    But she added that the conclusion was “unavoidable” given that the main priority for holding a successful Games would be the health of the athletes and the Japanese public.

    Kyodo news service earlier reported that organisers were leaning towards barring overseas volunteers from helping at the Games.

    Sources told Reuters earlier this month that the Japanese government had concluded it would not be able to allow spectators from abroad.

    Reporting by Sakura Murakami, Editing by William Mallard, David Dolan and Frances Kerry
    Bummer for the local businesses but good for the broadcasters, I suppose.
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  8. #158
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    North Korea is out

    Tokyo Olympic Games 2020
    North Korea pulls out of Tokyo Olympics, citing coronavirus fears
    With the Games just months away, the regime’s sports ministry says it wants to protect athletes from the ‘global health crisis’


    North Korea will not attend the forthcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Pyongyang’s sports ministry said on Tuesday, citing the risks of coronavirus infection. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
    Helen Sullivan and agencies
    @helenrsullivan
    Tue 6 Apr 2021 03.12 EDT

    North Korea’s sports ministry said on Tuesday that it will not participate in the Tokyo Olympics this year to protect its athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The decision was made at a meeting of North Korea’s Olympic committee, including its sports minister Kim Il guk, on 25 March the ministry said on its website, called Joson Sports. “The committee decided not to join the 32nd Olympics Games to protect athletes from the global health crisis caused by the coronavirus,” it said.

    The meeting also discussed ways to develop professional sports technologies, earn medals at international competitions and promote public sports activities over the next five years, the ministry said.

    North Korea has one of the world’s strictest quarantine regimes, despite the government’s denial that any cases have been detected in the country.

    The measures have allowed the government to increase its control over daily life to levels similar to the famine years of the 1990s, according to analysts.

    Outsiders doubt whether the country has escaped the pandemic entirely, given its poor health infrastructure and a porous border it shares with China, its economic lifeline.

    Describing its anti-virus efforts as a “matter of national existence”, North Korea has severely limited cross-border traffic, banned tourists, jetted out diplomats and quarantined tens of thousands of people who have shown symptoms.

    Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has previously said he expected to invite US president Joe Biden to the Olympics and was willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or his powerful sister, Kim Yo-jong, if either attended the Games. Suga, however, did not say if he would invite either of them.

    South Korea‘s Unification Ministry on Tuesday expressed regret at the North’s decision, saying it had hoped the Tokyo Olympics would provide an opportunity to improve inter-Korean relations, which have declined amid a stalemate in wider nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

    Japan’s Olympic minister, Tamayo Marukawa, said she was still confirming details and couldn’t immediately comment on the pullout decision.

    North Korea sent 22 athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, along with government officials, performance artists, journalists and a 230-member cheering group.

    The contingent included Kim Yo-jong, a move that helped it initiate diplomacy with South Korea and the US. That diplomacy has stalled since and North Korea‘s decision to sit out the Tokyo Olympics is a setback for hopes to revive it.

    The Olympics are hugely unpopular in Japan, with up to 80% of Japanese wanting the Games cancelled or postponed again. The games were originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, the government announced that it would ban overseas spectators.

    With just over 100 days to go, Japanese health authorities are concerned that variants of the coronavirus are driving a nascent fourth wave.

    The variants appear to be more infectious and may be resistant to vaccines, which are still not widely available in Japan. Osaka is the worst-affected city. Infections there hit fresh records last week, prompting the regional government to start targeted lockdown measures for one month from Monday.

    A mutant Covid variant first discovered in Britain has taken hold in the Osaka region, spreading faster and filling up hospital beds with more serious cases than the original virus, according to Koji Wada, a government adviser on the pandemic.

    “The fourth wave is going to be larger,” said Wada, a professor at Tokyo’s International University of Health and Welfare. “We need to start to discuss how we could utilise these targeted measures for the Tokyo area.”

    Osaka city cancelled Olympic Torch relay events there, but the Japanese prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has insisted Japan will carry out the Games as scheduled. Suga said on Sunday that measures employed in the Osaka area could be expanded to Tokyo and elsewhere if needed.

    In response to the announcement from North Korea, a spokesperson for the Australian Olympic Committee told the Guardian it was “continuing its detailed preparations to send the Australian Olympic Team to the Tokyo Olympic Games” and that it had “full confidence” in the efforts of organisers “to deliver the Games with athlete safety as the highest priority”.

    There were 249 new infections in Tokyo on Monday, still well below the peak of over 2,500 in January. In Osaka, the tally was 341, down from a record 666 cases on Saturday. Japan has confirmed a total of nearly nearly 490,000 infections since the start of the pandemic, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The death toll stands at 9,227.
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  9. #159
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    Sakura Kokumai

    There's a vid behind the link

    Woman Training for Olympics Becomes Target of Anti-Asian Rant at Orange County Park
    Sakura Kokumai, 28, is the first American to qualify for the Olympics in karate, and is training for the summer games in Tokyo.
    By Angie Crouch • Published 3 hours ago • Updated 3 hours ago

    An Olympic hopeful from SoCal — the first American to qualify for the Olympics in karate — posted a video of the man shouting at her as she trained in a park. Angie Crouch reports April 8, 2021.

    An Asian American woman training for the Olympics' karate competition says she was threatened by a man yelling racial slurs at an Orange County Park, and is sharing the recorded video of the incident in order to spread awareness about growing harassment against Asian Americans.

    Sakura Kokumai, 28, is the first American to qualify for the Olympics in karate, and is training for the summer games in Tokyo.

    She said she’s still in shock over what happened at Grijalva Park in the city of Orange last week.

    “Nobody likes to be yelled at by a complete stranger," she said.

    In a video she shared on Instagram, you can see a stranger berating her and threatening her as she worked out.

    "Go home, stupid," can be heard. “I’ll (bleep) you up - I’ll (bleep) your husband up or boyfriend or whoever you’re talking to on the phone."

    She responds with, "I haven’t done anything.”

    "When somebody is just yelling at you that aggressively you do get your guard up a little bit - you do get worried," Kokumai said.

    Kokumai is Japanese American, but she says the man yelled something about her being Chinese as he drove away.

    "The only two words I picked up were 'Chinese' and 'sashimi' which have no connection at all," she said.

    In an online summit with other Olympic athletes, U.S. gymnast Yul Moldauer revealed he too has been the victim of racial harassment.

    “Last month I was driving and a lady cut me off. She yelled at me, 'go back to China.' For me my job is to represent this country so I take a lot of pride into it," Moldauer said.

    The man in the Instagram video has not been identified and Kokumai wasn’t hurt.

    She says while it’s heartbreaking to see a rise in attacks on Asian Americans, she hopes sharing her story will bring awareness.

    “We all belong here and we don’t have to be afraid when we go out. But I encourage people to look out for one another," she said.
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  10. #160
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    Imprudent

    With 100 days until the Tokyo Olympics, Japan has vaccinated less than 1% of its population. That's a problem
    By Blake Essig, Emiko Jozuka and Ben Westcott, CNN

    Updated 5:28 AM ET, Wed April 14, 2021
    Tokyo (CNN)When 2020 Tokyo Olympics volunteers have in recent weeks asked officials how they'll be protected from Covid-19, given the foreign athletes pouring into Japan for the event and the country's low vaccination rate, the answer has been simple.
    They'll be given a small bottle of hand sanitizer and two masks each.
    "They don't talk about vaccines, they don't even talk about us being tested," said German volunteer Barbara Holthus, who is director of Sophia University's German Institute for Japanese Studies, in Tokyo.
    With 100 days to go until the Games, already postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, questions remain over how Tokyo can hold a massive sporting event and keep volunteers, athletes, officials -- and the Japanese public -- safe from Covid-19.
    That concern has been amplified by Japan's battle with a looming fourth wave. The country passed 500,000 total coronavirus cases on Saturday, and some prefectures are again tightening their Covid-19 restrictions as daily infections grow. Hideaki Oka, a professor at Saitama Medical University, said Japan may not be able to contain the latest wave before the Games begin on July 23.
    While Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated Monday his pledge to secure 100 million vaccine doses by the end of June, so far Japan has only vaccinated about 1.1 million of its 126 million people -- less than 1% of the population. Only 0.4% have received two doses.
    Holthus said supporting the Games was meant to be a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. "But now it's just a really dangerous experience," she said.
    In a statement to CNN, Tokyo 2020 organizers said they were preparing to hold "a safe and secure Games without presuming there will be a vaccine and even without vaccines."
    "On the other hand, we hope that vaccines will be properly administered at home and abroad and that the infection will, therefore, be reduced as a whole," the statement said.

    A man wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks near advertisement for Tokyo 2020 Olympics at an underpass Tuesday, April 6, in Tokyo.

    Slow vaccine rollout
    With a $25 billion Olympics to host, arguably no country in Asia had more incentive than Japan to get its Covid-19 cases under control and vaccinate its population.
    Yet Japanese regulators were slow to approve Covid-19 vaccines, compared to other governments, taking more than two months to allow the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Its rollout did not begin until February, and senior citizens only began to receive their doses on April 12, according to Kyodo News.
    Experts said part of the delay was due to official caution designed to avoid the vaccine skepticism that has damaged previous vaccination efforts in Japan. Either way, that approach has left Japan lagging other Asian nations, such as China, which has administered 171 million vaccinations, and India, which has given out 108 million doses.
    "They say elderly citizens are supposed to have a vaccination by June, but in reality, even medical staff who is treating Covid hasn't got vaccinated yet," said Oka from Saitama Medical University, adding he didn't believe the June vaccination target would be met.
    Oka said the government should prioritize vaccinating all athletes entering the country for the Games, but the Japanese government has resisted this approach, after media reports that Olympians would be prioritized sparked a social media backlash in Japan.
    Beijing had offered to provide vaccines for all athletes in the 2020 Olympics but Tokyo turned down the offer, saying no Chinese-made options were yet authorized for use in Japan.
    International spectators have been banned from the Games to try to lower the risk of Covid-19 spreading at the event. But more than 11,000 athletes from over 200 countries are expected to participate.
    Without plans to vaccinate athletes, the tens of thousands of volunteers taking part stand little chance of protection.
    Holthus said Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko told volunteers during a Zoom call she was relying "on your smile" to make the Olympics a success -- a particularly jarring claim because they would all be wearing masks.
    "(We were told) 'Your smile is going to make the Olympics exist' and you wonder, are you kidding me?" said Holthus, who is scheduled to volunteer as a ticket collector.
    One volunteer, who attended an 80-minute lecture on infectious disease control for Games volunteers, said a top Japanese expert in infectious diseases told them they shouldn't count on being vaccinated ahead of the event.
    "(He said) unless you are elderly there won't be enough time for ordinary people to get vaccinated," said the volunteer, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid being excluded from her role in the Olympics. She said she felt angry and scared after the presentation.
    The volunteer, who had taken part in previous Olympics, said she was considering dropping out unless all volunteers were vaccinated. "Not doing so is showing reckless disregard for our lives, and the optimal safe environment that Japan as a host country is obligated to provide," she said.
    Tokyo 2020 didn't respond to questions on the content of the presentation given to volunteers.

    Questions over athletes
    Even countries with almost no infections have struggled to hold major sporting events during the pandemic.
    In January, some players arriving in Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis tournament complained on social media about the strict health screening measures they encountered. At one point, spectators were banned for several days amid a small Covid-19 outbreak in the city.
    For Japan, where there were 2,112 new cases on Tuesday, it is going to be a bigger challenge.
    International participants will need a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours before they travel to Japan, where they will be retested, according to the Tokyo 2020 Playbook released by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on February 21.
    But according to the IOC document, athletes will not be required to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Japan, unless they have breached the country's Covid-19 precautions or potentially been exposed to the virus.
    During the Games, participants will be "tested for Covid-19 at different intervals," and all athletes and visitors will be assigned a "Covid-19 Liaison Officer."
    International guests have been asked to only leave their accommodation to "go to official Games venues and limited additional locations," a list of which will be released in the second playbook, due to publish this month.
    Hugs and high-fives are to be avoided and no public transport should be used. A face mask must be worn at all times.
    Tokyo 2020 organizers did not respond to questions on how social distancing measures would be maintained at the Olympic village.
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    continued from previous post

    An Olympic super-spreader event?
    While athletes in the Olympic village will have all tested negative before arriving in Japan, they will inevitably come in contact with tens of thousands of untested volunteers who will be shuttling between the Olympic venues and their homes.
    The Tokyo 2020 website said volunteers should take public transport to Olympic venues when they are volunteering. In Tokyo on Tuesday there were 510 new confirmed cases of Covid-19.
    In a statement to CNN, Tokyo 2020 said it had published a leaflet informing volunteers about Covid-19 countermeasures, including mask wearing, washing hands and keeping a safe distance from others.
    In response to a question on whether any Tokyo 2020 events would be postponed due to Covid, the statement said that the situation was "changing every moment."
    Holthus said in addition to the hand sanitizer and two face masks, Games officials had offered volunteers a "health condition diary" in which they could record their own health status.
    "It's going to be concentrated groups of people from all over the world, mixing together. What if there is a cluster that develops in one of the Olympic venues? What if it comes from one of us?" she said.
    Oka, the Saitama Medical University professor, shared the volunteers' concerns, saying the Games could enable the spread of dangerous Covid-19 variants not only through Japan, but around the world.
    Oka said he was also concerned Japan's already stretched hospital system wouldn't be able to cope if there was a sudden influx of athletes and volunteers infected with the virus. "As an infectious disease specialist, I cannot approve of holding the Games in a situation where not enough vaccinations has been made and enough countermeasures put in place," he said.
    In a statement to CNN, the Tokyo 2020 organizing body said it had "high hopes" the Covid-19 situation in Japan would improve ahead of the Olympics. "We will continue to work closely with these parties as we prepare to deliver a safe and secure Games this summer," the statement said.
    Olympics volunteer Philbert Ono said he trusted the government and the IOC to keep the athletes and volunteers safe.
    "The Japanese, they love to witness history. And you know this Olympics is very, very much a historical Olympics ... this is going to be a very different Olympics. And that's another thing I'm looking forward to," he said. "I just want to see how they do it."
    But Holthus said she didn't believe the Games should go ahead with the current state of preparation, which was a "recipe for a super spreader event."
    "We can't even yet imagine how bad it could be," she said. "But the damage will be done once the Games are being held. There's no turning that back once everybody flies in."

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  12. #162
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    Michael Vivona busted for elder abuse

    More on Sakura Kokumai

    Police Arrest Man Accused of Berating Team USA Karate Athlete Training at Park for Olympics
    Sakura Kokumai, who qualified for this summer’s Olympics in karate, was training at an Orange County park when a stranger began yelling at her and making threats.
    By Staff Reports • Published April 19, 2021 • Updated 6 hours ago


    An Olympic hopeful from SoCal — the first American to qualify for the Olympics in karate — posted a video of the man shouting at her as she trained in a park. Angie Crouch reports April 8, 2021.

    A man accused of assaulting a Southern California Asian couple and threatening a U.S. Olympian who was training at an Orange County park has been arrested.

    Michael Vivona, 25, of Corona was arrested Sunday on suspicion of elder abuse and committing a hate crime in connection with an assault on a Korean American couple. He also was arrested in the April 1 encounter with 28-year-old Sakura Kokumai, who qualified for this summer’s Olympics in karate.

    Details about the arrest were not immediately available. It was not immediately clear whether the suspect has an attorney.

    Kokumai, a seven-time national champion, shared video of the encounter with a man who yelled at her in Grijalva Park in the city of Orange. In video shared on Instagram, the man can be seen berating her as she works out at the public park.

    It makes me emotional just to think about it because at the time I did feel that I was alone.

    Sakura Kokumai
    “Go home stupid,” the man can be heard saying. “I’ll f— you up. I’ll f— your husband up or boyfriend or whoever you’re talking to on the phone.”

    Kokumai is Japanese American, but she said the man yelled something about her being Chinese as he drove away.

    “The only two words I picked up were ‘Chinese’ and ’sashimi,’ which have no connection at all,” Kokumai told NBCLA. “Nobody likes to be yelled at by a complete stranger.”

    Kokumai was at the park to go for a jog as she prepares to represent the United States in front of the world at the Olympics in Tokyo.

    Kokumai said she shared the video to spread awareness about harassment against Asian Americans.

    “I want everybody to know, especially in the AAPI community, that you’re not alone,” Kokumai told NBC News. “I think it’s really important to have compassion, share love and look out for one another.

    “It makes me emotional just to think about it because at the time I did feel that I was alone."

    In the aftermath, Kokumai said she received heartwarming messages of support.

    “They made me feel that I do belong here,” Kokumai said.

    Details about the other crime for which the suspect was arrested were not immediately available.
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  13. #163
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    Anta

    Apr 20, 2021,09:03pm EDT|128 views
    China Sportswear Billionaires Cut Anta Stake In Sale Nearing $1.5 Billion
    Russell Flannery
    Forbes Staff
    Asia

    Pedestrians walk past an Anta Sports Products store in Shanghai last month. Photographer: Qilai ... [+] © 2021 BLOOMBERG FINANCE LP
    Only a few years ago, 2021 and 2022 seemed like a particularly promising years for sportswear sales in China. The planned Summer Olympics in Japan were expected to attract viewership in the mainland; next year’s Winter Olympics are scheduled for Beijing and interest in winter sports has been on the rise.

    Amid concerns that Japan’s games won’t be held this year and questions whether all countries will turn out for next year’s winter games, the controlling shareholders of China’s biggest sportswear company said in a filing today that would lower their stake in the business.

    Anta International, whose owners include billionaire chairman Ding Shizhong and vice chairman Ding Shijia, said they would sell 88 million shares, or about a 3.3% stake in Hong Kong-listed Anta Sports Products, at a price of HK$131.48 a share, generating nearly $1.5 billion. Anta Holdings’ stake will fall to 47.6% after the sale, compared with 50.8% before. The company didn’t give a reason for the sale. Anta Sports closed at HK$142.20 yesterday.

    Anta’s shares have gained nearly 80% in the past year as China’s economy recovered from Covid. Shares in local brands such as Anta, Xtep, Li Ning and 361, recently got a further boost after a Nike statement last month expressing concern about alleged forced labor practices in the country’s Xinjiang region generated backlash and boycott calls in China’s social media.

    Anta, a 2022 Olympics sponsor, led an investment group that paid $5 billion to purchase Nordic sportswear success Amer Sports in 2019. Amer’s globally well-known brands include Atomic ski equipment, Salomon ski boots and Wilson tennis rackets, among others. Anta’s partners included Tencent, FountainVest Partners and U.S. billionaire Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon sports apparel.

    At home, Anta has also long used NBA endorsements from the likes of Klay Thompson to help sales. The company was founded in 1991, and went public in Hong Kong in 2007 at HK$5.28 a share, creating a hefty return for early investors.

    Ding Shizhong is worth $11 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today; younger brother Ding Shijia is worth $10.8 billion. Mainland China is second only to the United States as home to the world’s largest number of billionaires.

    - Follow me @rflannerychina
    Russell Flannery
    I'm a senior editor and the Shanghai bureau chief of Forbes magazine. Now in my 20th year at Forbes, I compile the Forbes China Rich List. I was previously a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Taipei and Shanghai and for the Asian Wall Street Journal in Taipei. I'm a Massachusetts native, fluent Mandarin speaker, and hold degrees from the University of Vermont and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
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  14. #164
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    So many questions...

    MAY 11, 20218:28 PMUPDATED 3 HOURS AGO
    US athletics team cancels pre-Olympics camp in Japan-local government
    By Eimi Yamamitsu, Sakura Murakami

    5 MIN READ

    TOKYO (Reuters) -The United States’ track and field team has cancelled its pre-Olympics training camp in Japan out of concerns for safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local authorities announced on Wednesday, raising more questions about the holding of the Games.


    FILE PHOTO: The logo of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, is seen through signboards, at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office building in Tokyo, Japan January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
    The team was set to train in Chiba, the prefecture neighbouring Tokyo, leading up to the summer Games, but cancelled “out of concerns for their athletes’ safety”, according to a statement from the Chiba administration.

    There was no immediate comment from USA Track and Field.

    “It is a shame they have decided to cancel, but I believe they made the best decision possible in the current situation,” Chiba governor Toshihito Kumagai said in the statement.

    With less than three months to go before the Games begin on July 23, Japan is battling a surge in coronavirus infections, and a majority of the population wants them cancelled or postponed for a second time.

    Public concerns have also caused angst among sponsors, with a top executive of one, Toyota Motor Corp, saying company officials felt “conflicted” over the desire to see the Olympics succeed and public concerns about holding the event during a pandemic. “As sponsors, it breaks our heart to see public discontent aimed at athletes,” the automaker’s operating officer, Jun Nagata, told an earnings briefing on Wednesday.

    “To be honest, we are conflicted every day over what the best course of action is.”

    Criticism has also been levelled at athletes, with some social media users calling on them to step down from competing.

    “I personally can’t stand that the criticism and calls to cancel or boycott the Olympics are being aimed at the athletes themselves,” said Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee president Seiko Hashimoto at a news conference held on Wednesday evening.

    “It strengthens my resolve to ensure we have the proper measures in place to make the Olympics safe for athletes,” she added.

    SLOW VACCINATIONS To forestall a virus outbreak during the event, Japan is preparing to offer vaccinations to about 2,500 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and support staff, using donated shots.

    However, just 2.6% of the population has been vaccinated, and reports last month of priority for athletes spurred criticism on social media amid public anger over the slow pace of the inoculation campaign.

    “Our officials are saying we’ll make sure we don’t cause trouble for the overall population,” said Miho Kuroda of the Japan Paralympic Committee.

    The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said vaccinations could start as early as June, but officials said the timing and details, such as who would give the inoculations, remain unclear.

    Last week, Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE said they would donate vaccine doses to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help inoculate athletes and their delegations to both Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    Japan has only approved the Pfizer vaccine, though approval for others is imminent. Vaccinations have also been slowed by supply issues and rules that only doctors or nurses can give the shots, although dentists received permission last month.

    The IOC, organisers in Japan and the government have repeatedly vowed to hold the Games as scheduled until Aug. 8, despite rampant criticism.

    The governor of Ibaraki prefecture, which is to host some Olympic soccer events, said a further postponement or outright cancellation should be considered if the pandemic worsened.

    “I don’t think we can gain the understanding of the international community, let alone Japan, if we were to host the Olympics in the midst of a medical collapse,” Governor Kazuhiko Ooigawa told reporters on Tuesday.

    The New York Times newspaper featured an opinion piece on Tuesday titled, “A sports event shouldn’t be a superspreader”, adding to the calls for cancellation.

    “It’s time to listen to science and halt the dangerous charade,” the author, political scientist and former soccer player, Jules Boykoff, said.

    Japan has escaped the worst of the pandemic, but 11,000 people have died and the medical system has been severely stretched by the latest surge, with 925 new infections on Tuesday in Tokyo, the capital.

    Reporting by Elaine Lies, Eimi Yamamitsu, Sakura Murakami and Chang-ran Kim; Writing by Elaine Lies and Sakura Murakami; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Raju Gopalakrishnan, William Maclean
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  15. #165
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    80% oppose

    Japan
    Tokyo Olympics: more than 80% of Japanese oppose hosting Games – poll
    Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency on Friday as the nation battles a fourth wave of Covid infections

    Passersby wearing protective face masks walk near a countdown clock of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease

    More than 80% of Japanese people oppose hosting the Olympics this year, a poll published on Monday showed, with just under 10 weeks until the Tokyo Games.

    The latest survey comes after Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency on Friday as the nation battles a fourth wave of virus infections.

    The surge has put pressure on the country’s healthcare system, with medical professionals repeatedly warning about shortages and burnout.

    The weekend survey by the Asahi Shimbun daily found 43% of respondents want the Games cancelled, and 40% want a further postponement.

    Those figures are up from 35% who backed cancellation in a survey by the paper a month ago, and 34% who wanted a further delay.

    Only 14% support holding the Games this summer as scheduled, down from 28%, according to the poll of 1,527 replies from 3,191 telephone calls.

    If the Games do go ahead, 59% of respondents said they want no spectators, with 33% backing lower fan numbers and 3% a regular capacity Games.

    For months, polling has found a majority in Japan oppose holding the Games this summer. A separate poll by Kyodo News published on Sunday showed 59.7% of respondents back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option.

    Olympic organisers says tough anti-virus measures, including regular testing of athletes and a ban on overseas fans, will keep the Games safe. But the Kyodo poll found 87.7% of respondents worry that an influx of athletes and staff members from abroad may spread the virus.

    Japan has seen a smaller virus outbreak than many countries, with fewer than 11,500 deaths so far. But the government has come under pressure for a comparatively slow vaccine rollout.

    The Kyodo poll found 85% of respondents considered the rollout slow, with 71.5 percent unhappy with the government’s handling of the pandemic.


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