Tokyo ‘cornered’ into holding Games: Olympian Yamaguchi

Former Olympian says IOC, Govt. and local organisers ignoring popular sentiment

Tokyo has been “cornered” into holding the games during the coronavirus pandemic, one of Japan’s best-known Olympians and an executive member of the Japanese Olympic Committee said in an outspoken editorial published Friday.

Kaori Yamaguchi said the International Olympic Committee, the government and local organisers are ignoring widespread opposition to the Games from the Japanese public.

Depending on how the question is phrased in different polls, between 50-80% of Japanese people oppose holding the Olympics.

Scathing editorial

“We have been cornered into a situation where we cannot even stop now. We are damned if we do, and damned if we do not,” Yamaguchi wrote in an editorial published by Japan’s Kyodo news agency. “The IOC also seems to think that public opinion in Japan is not important.”

Yamaguchi won a bronze medal in judo at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and is also a former world champion.

“What will these Olympics be for, and for whom?” she asked.

“The Games have already lost meaning and are being held just for the sake of them. I believe we have already missed the opportunity to cancel.”

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