Japan feels compelled to host the Olympic Games next summer. That says former judoka Kaori Yamaguchi, board member of the Japanese Olympic Committee, in an opinion.
According to Yamaguchi, the Tokyo Games have lost all meaning and are only being held because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has to.
“It seems that the IOC doesn’t care about public opinion in Japan,” writes the 56-year-old Japanese, the 1984 world champion in the 52-kilogram class. “The Japanese government, the Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee and the IOC seem to be avoiding dialogue despite the concerns of the Japanese people. We’ve been cornered and can’t get out of it now. I think we’ve already missed the opportunity to cancel the Games, and it’s too late. We are damned if we do it, and we are damned if we don’t.”
Polls indicate that a majority of the Japanese population wants the Games to be cancelled or postponed. According to the IOC, the latter is not possible. Last year, the global sporting event was cancelled due to the coronavirus. On July 23, the Olympic flame must still burn in the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, where the state of emergency still applies. Japan is struggling with the coronavirus also because the vaccination process has only started late.
According to the former judoka, Japan is hosting the event “against will and thanks”. “Shouldn’t the Games be the festival of peace? That starts with entering into a dialogue with people with different views. If we deviate from this, the Games have no meaning.”