Is Japan Careless to Go Ahead with Summer Olympics 2020 Amid Spread of Coronavirus – What Could It Mean for Russian Athletes?

  • Japan is adamant about hosting the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.
  • Japan is a hotspot for the spreading coronavirus.
  • United Airlines reduced the number of flights to Japan due to coronavirus.

The Japanese government is in talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure that the Tokyo Summer Olympics will be held as planned under any circumstances, despite the threat of a new coronavirus spreading. The news came during a budget hearing on Friday, February 28, 2020 of the Commission of the lower house of Parliament by Seiko Hashimoto, the Minister responsible for the Olympic and Paralympic games and budget allocation.

During an interview with the Japanese media, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said preparations for the Tokyo Olympics should go on schedule, despite the coronavirus situation. According to him, the IOC is working closely with the Japanese government and the games organizing Committee to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators.

The international Olympic Committee, Bach said, is fully interested in the success of the games starting on July 24.  At the same time, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chairman of the Tokyo 2020 organizing Committee Yoshiro Mori have repeatedly stressed that the issue of canceling or postponing the Olympics is not being considered.

The World Health Organization (WHO) raised the coronavirus to ” high risk” status.  But officials caution the virus can still be contained if the chain of transmission can be broken.

Currently, Japan is a hot spot for the coronavirus. As of Friday 28, 2020 there are 933 cases and 11 deaths reported. United Airlines significantly reduced the number of flights to Japan. Schools are also closed in Japan.

The Tokyo Olympics is supposed to take place  from July 24 to August 9, and the Paralympics from August 25 to September 6. The program of the Olympiad includes 33 sports and for the first time, karate, surfing, rock climbing and skateboarding will be presented. The opening ceremony will be held on July 24, two days before the women’s soccer and softball competitions begin.

It also brings up an interesting topic: what will it mean for Russia? Thus far Russia has been banned from the Olympics for four years. This means the Russian flag and anthem will be banned for the next four years at the Olympics. The verdict was announced last year due to doping issues. If the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics are cancelled, would it mean that Russia will have to miss the 2024 Olympics?

If the coronavirus is not contained, it would be very careless to continue with the Olympics and the number of tourists that would descend on Japan. The danger of the virus spreading is far more important than any Olympic games. It would be sad for athletes, who trained so hard, to not able to display their highest level of performance.

The health of people should come first as well as their safety and security. Japan has three months to make a final decision.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

2 thoughts to “Is Japan Careless to Go Ahead with Summer Olympics 2020 Amid Spread of Coronavirus – What Could It Mean for Russian Athletes?”

  1. I think unless things get worse— not unless things get better— the Games will go on as planned. Too much money has been put in, especially by folks like NBC, for these not to go forward. Even if it means this is ends up being a TV show with few to no spectators.

    1. You are right, but they are cancelling major sports seasons now too. So depending, how long the virus lingers it is 50/50. They will have to decide by May.

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