The head of the 20202 (2021) Summer Olympics recently acknowledged by both Japan and the IOC ware s reluctant to cancel the Olympics: At this point, too much time and money has already been invested, and even without legions of international travelers looking to spend money on souvenirs, meals and hotels, there's still too much money at stake. Not to mention the damage to Japan's national pride, particularly at a time when demographic decline has diminished its influence in the region, as its arch-rival China rises.
With the Olympics Games set to begin in roughly five weeks, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga managed to secure support from President Joe Biden and the other G-7 leaders for the hosting of the Tokyo Games next month, what Bloomberg described as a major boost for the Japanese government's decision to move ahead with the Games.
"President Biden re-affirmed his support for the Tokyo Olympic Games provided all public health measures necessary to protect athletes, staff and spectators are used. The White House also issued a statement relaying President Biden's "pride" with the US athletes who are preparing to compete.
The G-7 addressed a number of important issues in its post-summit communique: in addition to slamming China over its alleged treatment of the Uyghers in Xinjiang and chiding President Vladimir Putin for allegedly "tolerating" hackers wreaking havoc on American companies from afar, they also carved out some space for the Olympics.
But the final communique also mentioned their support for holding the Olympics and Paralympics "in a safe and secure manner" as a "symbol of global unity in overcoming COVID-19".
As Bloomberg explains, this support from Biden and the other leaders lessens the possibility of major Olympic teams pulling out of the games, which is potentially the only development that could prevent them from moving ahead at this point.
The Japanese public largely opposes holding the Games, which were moved from last summer due to the outbreak of COVID-19, although support is starting to climb as athletes begin to arrive and the vaccine rollout program in the country progresses. Still, opinions are provided. A survey by the conservative Yomiuri newspaper earlier this month found 50% of respondents were in favor of going ahead with the event, compared with 48% who said it should be postponed or canceled.
Tokyo and the country's other largest cities are under a state of emergency which won't expire until June 20, roughly one month before the Game's are set to begin (they start July 23 and are will run through Aug. 6). It's likely that some lighter restrictions may remain in place to help prevent any outbreaks of mutant "Delta" COVID during the Games.