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Still ready for COVID vaccines, the Japanese are nonetheless very nervous about internet hosting the Olympics

Tokyo — Organizers of the Summer Olympics are set to launch an up to date model of the “playbooks” that lay out the COVID-19 security measures being put in place to allow the Tokyo Games to start out as scheduled in lower than three months. But regardless of vows to “deploy all possible countermeasures and place the highest priority on safety,” Japan’s sluggish vaccine rollout has left its residents unconvinced that the large worldwide occasion might be held safely.

Games organizers have hosted nationwide festivities, together with occasions across the Olympic torch relay, in current months, hoping to drum up pleasure because the Summer Games opening ceremony approaches.

But as CBS News correspondent Lucy Craft studies, even these precursor occasions have been held beneath heavy anti-COVID measures, usually with spectators banned. That has made them a grim reminder of the dangers going through Japan, because the nation prepares to open its doorways to tens of hundreds of worldwide athletes and their groups, in accordance with political science professor Nancy Snow, of Japan’s Kyoto University of Foreign Studies.

“It looks like this is really becoming cringeworthy. Whenever there’s a ribbon-cutting exercise, or the announcement of the torch rally, there’s always some setback. So now, with the torch rally, it’s invisible – there are no cheering fans,” mentioned Snow of the markedly toned-down occasions.

Torch relay kicks off 2021 Japan Olympics


As a part of the brand new “playbook” tips, organizers introduced on Wednesday that there can be necessary day by day coronavirus testing for athletes. While opponents usually are not anticipated to should quarantine, athletes can be confined to the Olympic village, venues and coaching areas.

Support for the Olympics even amongst Japanese company sponsors has plummeted, Snow mentioned, as anticipation has been changed by anxious resignation. 

Only about 1% of the Japanese inhabitants have been inoculated in opposition to COVID-19 to this point, and beneath present plans, most will nonetheless be unprotected when the Games start in July.

A shopper walks past the official shop of the Tokyo Olympics
A consumer walks previous the official store of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in Tokyo, April 25, 2021.

James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

Snow mentioned she would describe Japan’s vaccination rollout as, “quite abysmal, right now.”

“The country is not going, really, to be vaccine-ready for the Olympics in July,” she mentioned. “There is a sense of things not really under control, yet.”

On Wednesday, the top of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, mentioned he absolutely understood the choice by Japan’s leaders to declare a second state of emergency in Tokyo earlier this 12 months as the speed of recent COVID-19 infections climbed. But he mentioned he remained dedicated, together with Japanese organizers, to holding a protected and profitable Games.  

Tokyo 2020 Hold Five-Party Meeting
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach (on a display) delivers a gap speech whereas Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee president Seiko Hashimoto (R) and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (L) hear throughout a five-party assembly of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games on April 28, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


With the coronavirus nonetheless raging in quite a few nations, nonetheless, there is a chance that the occasions of final 12 months — when nations began dropping out of the then-2020 Summer Olympics, forcing the one-year postponement of the Games — may repeat themselves.

If that did occur, it is honest to say that almost all Japanese wouldn’t be dissatisfied. 


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