Tokyo 2021 Olympics

Photo by CNN, taken on May 19, 2021, Some rights reserved,

Japan is currently battling the fourth wave of Coronavirus infections in Tokyo and other major cities throughout the country, which is causing major scrutiny concerning the opening of the 2021 Summer Olympics. Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Summer Olympics almost 8 years ago to the overwhelming joy of Japanese citizens. The Prime Minister of the country declared that the excitement was even greater than when he won his own election. With the pandemic raging last summer, the Olympics were postponed until 2021 in hopes the infection rate would be lower. Now that vaccines have rolled out, herd immunity is slowly being achieved, however, infection rates in Japan are up to 40%-60%. The current vaccination rate in Japan is about 2%. There is a large amount of concern among the Japanese public about opening up the games. In a recent survey 80% of residents believe the games should be postponed another year. Japan simply cannot handle the surge of people that would be housed in Tokyo. Despite the public’s growing concern, The International Olympics Committee (IOC) is confident that the games will open as planned on July 23rd. Japanese officials highly encourage athletes and other visiting parties to get vaccinated before arriving, however, it will not be required. 

It is very controversial whether or not the games should be canceled. The Japanese economy would benefit greatly from the surge of tourists, especially during this economic slump. Young athletes who have been training for a year and a half deserve the chance to be able to compete. However, a significant amount of unvaccinated people in Japan could be put at risk. The Japanese Department of Health predicts that the majority of the population will be vaccinated by July. It is up in the ear whether or not the games will be held this year. The head-butting between the Japanese public and the IOC is leaving the rest of the world with many questions as to what will happen next.