Mark Gray Won’t Be Watching The Olympics & Here’s Why
In addition to the health concerns, the fact that Tokyo Games has banned Black Lives Matter apparel from being worn by athletes is also what many Black people would consider a direct attempt at racial oppression and unreflective of the values of inclusiveness, unity and tolerance that the Olympic Games are built upon.
According to AP, an online petition with more than 350,000 signatures calling for the Tokyo Games to be canceled was submitted Friday to local organizers, the International Olympic Committee and others.
The Olympics are scheduled to open in just 10 weeks on July 23 in the midst of a pandemic with Tokyo and other areas under a state of emergency. Cases continue to rise in Japan, where less than 2% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
The petition campaign — called “Stop Tokyo Olympics” — was drafted by well-known lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya, who has also run for governor of Tokyo. He said the response was surprising but acknowledged that this was too little, and probably too late.
“I think that the media coverage puts a lot of pressure on the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee, the Japanese government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the organizing committee,” Utsunomiya said at a news conference. “So in that sense, I am glad I did it. However, in terms of the numbers, I think that tens of millions of signatures are really necessary.”
Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tokyo organizing committee said:
“The largest concern that people have is whether holding the Tokyo Games could severely impact the capacity of the medical practitioners and the health care community in making proper treatment of those people who are infected,” she said. “We are doing our best to put into effect the most stringent of anti-COVID-19 measures.”
Japan has attributed about 11,000 deaths to COVID-19, good by world standards but poor in Asia where places like Taiwan and South Korea have been more successful.
The IOC relies on selling broadcast rights for almost 75% of its income — 18% more is from sponsors — and Japan has officially spent $15.4 billion to organize the Olympics. A government audit has suggested the number might be twice that large.