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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are happening in 2021 after being postponed due to COVID-19 – and Japanese citizens are not happy about it.
The International Olympic Committee has addressed the backlash, but hasn’t announced any changes. But even Japan’s biggest athlete at the moment, Naomi Osaka, thinks throwing the games is a bad idea.
Non-Olympians also echoed the sentiment. “We should cancel the Olympics! Not like ‘cancel culture’ cancel, but they just shouldn’t happen.” says Japanese rapper Kazuo on Tiktok.
Citing rising COVID rates and vaccination rates that won’t rise fast enough, the Japanese fear an international sporting event that brings in hundreds of thousands of people from around the world might not be the best idea.
This wouldn’t be the first time backlash against the Olympics has happened. Historically, Olympic games have been met with resistance from many host cities – protests broke out in Rio in 2016 as locals protested their government’s misplaced priorities. The most iconic of these moments though has to be Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ protest at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, throwing up Black Power fists and making history. This year, IOC made an even more controversial statement by banning protests at the games this year.
However, Japan’s protests have been largely on social media as protesting through the streets is looked down upon, with most coverage of the picket lines consisting of older citizens. Japan’s youth sees the action as something of an older generation. Their weapon of choice: trending topics for international attention. The petitions continue to gain traction and the attention will only increase as the games get closer.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are still scheduled to begin on July 23.