Wednesday Oct 5, 2022
Wednesday Oct 5, 2022

Why are Olympics going on despite public, medical warnings?

2021 Jun 17, 10:38,
In this March 25, 2021, file photo, a

 Public sentiment in Japan has been generally opposed to holding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, partly based on fears the coronavirus will spike as almost 100,000 people — athletes and others — enter for both events.

The Japanese medical community is largely against it. The government’s main medical adviser Dr. Shigeru Omi has said it’s “abnormal” to hold the Olympics during a pandemic. So far, only 5% of Japanese are fully vaccinated.

The medical journal The Lancet has raised questions about the health risks and criticized the World Health Organization and other health bodies for not taking a clear stand. The New England Journal of Medicine has said the IOC’s decision to proceed “is not informed by the best scientific evidence.”

The second-largest selling newspaper in Japan, the Asahi Shimbun, has called for the Olympics to be canceled. So have other regional newspapers.

Still, they are going ahead. How have the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga been able to bypass strong opposition?

At the core is the Host City Contract that gives the IOC the sole authority to cancel. If Japan cancels, it would have to compensate the IOC. Of course, the IOC is unlikely to sue a host city. So any deal would be worked out behind the scenes.

And there are billions at stake. Japan has officially spent $15.4 billion but government audits suggest it’s twice that much. Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc., a key player in landing the corruption-tainted bid in 2013, has raised more than $3 billion from local sponsors.

Estimates suggest a cancellation could cost the IOC $3 billion-$4 billion in lost broadcast rights income. Broadcast income and sponsors account for 91% of the IOC income, and American network NBCUniversal provides about 40% of the IOC’s total income.

Fans from abroad have been banned already, and a decision on local fans attending Olympic venues should come as early as next week.

Japanese medical community Tokyo Olympics World Health Organization
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