July 24, 2021

Francs Jeux In Tokyo, the cancellation of the Games slips into the political arena

In a normal world, Roger Federer could have celebrated his 40th birthday at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Games. The Swiss will change decade on August 8, 2021. For his last Games, the setting would have been sumptuous.

With less than ten weeks before the opening, Roger Federer makes no secret: he still does not know whether he will participate in the Tokyo Games. The. Switzerland would like an answer, but it does not come. He suggested it last weekend during an interview with the television channel. Lake Geneva : “I think what athletes need is a decision: is it happening or is it not? ”

In Lausanne, at the IOC headquarters, the answer is clear: it is done. John Coates, the vice-president of the body, reiterated earlier this month that cancellation was not an option.

In Tokyo, on the other hand, the tone is less assertive. Concern is gaining ground every day in the metropolitan government of the capital. And some officials no longer hide their skepticism.

Officially, the speech has not changed. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (pictured above) continues to assure that she will do all she can to keep the Games safe. But behind the scenes, the subject is less categorical.

A senior official in the metropolitan government, cited by the agency Jiji Press, suggested that it would be “little surprise that Yuriko Koike declares the cancellation”Of the Olympic and Paralympic event.

The governor of the capital would not have hidden her frustration last week at a meeting organized before a conference to monitor the health situation. She noted that the number of COVID-19 cases does “was not decreasing at all ” despite a state of emergency extended until May 31.

According to the same senior official of the metropolitan government, it would be “difficult to organize the Olympic Games if the infections continue to develop ”. And even more difficult, he suggests, to maintain the event in the event that the state of emergency is extended beyond May 31.

According to some Japanese media, Yuriko Koike’s decision is due to two parameters: the evolution of the health situation and the state of opinion. In both cases, the LEDs remain red.

The latest poll to date, published this Monday, May 17 by the daily Asahi Shimbun, reveals that more than 80% of the people questioned are opposed to the holding of the Games on the dates planned. 43% of respondents are in favor of a cancellation, 40% want a further postponement.

Hiroshi Mikitani, the Japanese billionaire founder and CEO of the group Rakuten Inc, gave a layer by explaining that the maintenance of the Games would today be like a “mission suicide”. “With the delay that we have taken for the vaccination, it becomes really dangerous to host such an international event ”, he argued on CNN.

In Tokyo, the debate could quickly take a very political turn. The campaign for election to the metropolitan assembly is scheduled to begin June 25, with a vote scheduled for July 4. According to the latest estimates, Yuriko Koike’s party, Tomin First no Kai, is expected to share seats with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party.

According to a leader of Tomin First no Kai, “the opportunity to make the cancellation of the Games an electoral promise”Is not yet discussed. But it would not be completely ruled out either.