Attracting attention in Tokyo was the plan. But Rochelle Kopp would not have thought that her petition against the Olympic public viewing area in Yoyogi Park would be so effective. The 56-year-old management consultant walks briskly through the extensive green space in the Shibuya district, past the trees that she wants to protect from the saws of the plaza. The sun is shining. It seems to be carried by a wave of approval. She has already collected tens of thousands of signatures, and interviewed her on television and radio.
She always hopes that the people in Tokyo will be grateful when, as a Japanese woman by choice, with American moral courage, she breaks the silence of the collective society. But this time the tail wind is particularly strong. Because of the trees? Kopp is not kidding himself. It’s about the summer games, which should take place in just under two months despite the corona virus. “People are fed up with it,” says Kopp. Your fight against games cinema is a symbol of the rejection of the Olympic pandemic theater.
The dispute over the Olympics in Tokyo does not end. In fact, it was particularly turbulent that week. The opponents have good arguments, because even if vaccination programs are gradually taking effect in the rich West, the crisis is alive elsewhere. In Japan too.
Only 2.4 percent of Japan’s residents are fully vaccinated
On Friday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended the corona emergency for Tokyo and eight other prefectures until June 20. Although the self-defense forces have opened mass vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka, only 2.4 percent of the 126 million people in the island nation are fully immunized. And Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tocog Organizing Committee, has meanwhile said that it is not so easy to decide whether at least local viewers are allowed to attend the games. You need more knowledge. “The decision should be made as soon as possible,” said Hashimoto. She knows that the opening of the game is scheduled for July 23rd.
There are new reminders. On Thursday, the Japanese Medical Association called for cancellation because a party with tens of thousands of active people, officials and media workers from all over the world was too risky. President Naoto Ueyama warned, “All of the different types of mutant strains of the virus that exist in different places are concentrated here in Tokyo.” The newspaper Asahi, a game sponsor, headlined Wednesday: “Prime Minister Suga, please cancel the summer games.” The US government had previously issued a travel warning for Japan. And every survey so far this year has shown that the majority in the country is against it.
“You get the feeling that there are powers that don’t want to stop it”
“What I find interesting,” says Rochelle Kopp in Yoyogi Park, “so many on social media and from my friends say: This is how it must have felt in World War II, when the government did crazy things that everyone knew about that they didn’t make sense, but you had no power to stop them. ” She doesn’t like the comparison with the belligerent empire. Nevertheless, she finds it characteristic: “You have the feeling that the government is very far away from the people.”
But the reminders fizzle out, the games seem to be coming. The final construction work is in progress. Associations and states show no concerns. After the travel warning, the US government said that nothing would change in America’s participation in the Olympics. After the critical editorial noted Asahis Business level clear: “We are continuing our activities as an official partner.” Suga is undeterred. And an A celebrity who was recently “not really sure” about the Olympics has shut down for the time being. Japan’s tennis idol Naomi Osaka will not give any press conferences at the French Open.
The critical minds do their best anyway. Rochelle Kopp walks through Yoyogi Park and describes the location directly in non-Japanese. “One has the feeling that they can no longer stop it,” she says, “and that there are powers that don’t even want to stop it, and that these are the powers that are pulling money out of this construction.” She now knows that many think like her. On Friday evening, her petition had more than 103,000 signatures.