The day after Tokyo 2020, editorials in Japan clash over the end of the Olympics

~~ ~ The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, delayed for a year and held without spectators due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, ended on August 8. The editorial pages of several major Japanese newspapers all contained an


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The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, delayed for a year and held without spectators due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, ended on August 8. The editorial pages of several major Japanese newspapers all contained an extensive editorial (normally two editorials are published) devoted to overall evaluations of the Games which have just ended.

The biggest point of difference in the positions taken by the respective newspapers concerned the question of whether the Olympics should have been held during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sankei Shimbun

??All the athletes were the real winners / Tokyo, be proud to keep the sacred flame of the Olympics alight

The Sankei ShimbunThe editorial board of, while acknowledging that there had been calls for the cancellation of the Olympics, asserted that the decision to go ahead with the Games was correct, saying: “Who could have been imagine that this summer would bring the moving scenes now etched in our minds?

He added: “It is undeniable that once the curtain was raised on the Tokyo Olympics, we all shared the deep emotions and excitement. Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented spectators from attending the Olympic events, Japan has ensured that the sacred flame, symbol of the Olympic Games, continues to shine throughout the Games. In doing so, Japan has carved out a special place for itself in Olympic history. something we should be very proud of. ”

The editorial then went on to discuss some of the competition’s many highlights, specifically mentioning the women’s skateboarding finals in the park in which 15-year-old Japanese favorite Misugu Okamoto tumbled down performing the incredibly difficult lap. “indie flip” during its final. Course. “Okamoto was desperate as she left the competition area,” it read, “when a number of her rivals quickly ran to form a ring around her, hugging her and lifting her onto their shoulders. Most of them were also teenagers.

The Sankei the editorial concluded that the heartwarming scene “could also serve as a warning bell for adults who, in the year and a half since COVID-19, appeared to have developed a habit of looking at others with grim suspicion” .

Yomiuri Shimbun

The athletes shone / Now is the time to deal with management issues

The Yomiuri Shimbun also took a positive view of the Olympics, with its editorial board stressing the importance as follows: “These atypical Olympics which have taken place after overcoming the difficulties created by the global COVID-19 pandemic will no doubt be long overdue. ‘subject of discussion. ”

The editorial mentioned how Japan had won records of 27 gold medals and 58 medals in total. He praised the national judo team, as Japanese men’s and women’s judokas dominated nine of the 14 competitive classes; male gymnast Daiki Hashimoto, winner of two medals; as well as swimmer Yui Ohashi.

Nikkei Shimbun

Let the “Covid Olympics” inaugurate the reform

The Nikkei congratulated the staff as they managed to organize the Games when the Tokyo metropolitan area was in a state of emergency and daily COVID cases sometimes exceeded 5,000. He marveled that although everything seemed chaotic on the eve of the opening ceremony, and the incoming criticisms were scathing, the organizers had indeed succeeded in preserving the sanitary “bubble system” that they had imposed to prevent contact between the athletes and the outside, from so that the athletes could fully show their abilities. He concluded: “It is fair to say that these Games have provided positive proof of the potential of sport. ”

Asahi Shimbun

??A festival of chaos / The time is ripe to reinvent the Olympic Games

Although the Asahi Shimbun was a sponsor of the Olympics, he had, in a May editorial, called on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to cancel the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“The event was held at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic had still not been contained, endangering the lives of people across the world,” said Asahi fumed in his post-Olympic editorial.

“The Games were unprecedented in that many of its events took place without spectators cheering from their seats, and athletes and other Olympic officials were only allowed to mingle with citizens on a limited scale.” , he continued.

The Asahi The editorial board concluded that the organizers and the Japanese government had taken a “bet” that everything would be fine, and that as a result of this “bet” the conditions of the pandemic had become even more dire.

The Asahi argued, “A new wave of epidemics of infection has occurred, as feared, with a shortage of hospital beds, most often in the greater Tokyo area. The public health system is on the verge of collapse.

It was pointed out that there have been no documented cases of Olympic participants actually spreading the virus. However, Asahi would have none of this, arguing that “the current crisis, however, cannot be unrelated to the inconsistent attitude of leaders, who have called on citizens to reduce their travel and refrain from operating their businesses while by organizing a gigantic event with guests from all corners of the globe.

Tokyo Shimbun

What the Tokyo Olympics have to teach us

The Tokyo Shimbun questioned the significance of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He noted that the Olympic events were held in places almost completely devoid of spectators, with most Japanese people watching them at home. This allowed everything to unfold in a “bubble” which prevented athletes, coaches and others with Olympic ties from having any contact with the outside world. Additionally, anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 has been ruled out and anyone sneaking outside on sightseeing has been severely criticized.

The document concluded that citizens naturally had to question whether holding the Olympics under such circumstances in a coronavirus-ravaged Japan was of any value.

Mainichi Shimbun

・ An opportunity to revamp what has gone out of fashion

As to whether it was appropriate to hold the Summer Games as planned, the Mainichi Shimbun The editorial board did not deliver a strong opinion, simply saying: “Even though the curtain has come down, questions remain. Organizers and the Japanese government must thoroughly examine these issues, including the intense heat. ”

The Paralympic Games are scheduled to start on August 24. Since the athlete’s ranks include people with underlying conditions that could put them at high risk if they were to contract COVID-19, we need to make sure that they, and the caregivers who accompany them, are protected against infection. Hopefully all necessary precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of participants.

(Read The Sankei Shimbun column in japanese on this link.)

Author: Tsugumasa Uchihata, columnist, The Sankei Shimbun

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