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Hi Blog. Check this out. According to Reuters below, Kyodo News (full article now in Comments Section) is saying that “overseas spectators” will not be allowed at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. I would hope that means that Non-Japanese Residents of Japan are allowed to get tickets and spectate. But I’m not at all confident that will happen.
First, how will authorities enforce that, given the “Japanese Only” practices widespread in Japan that historically have barred entry or participation to anyone who is foreign, moreover doesn’t “look Japanese”? (This includes Japanese sports; see for example here, here, here, here, here, and here.) After decades of studying these practices, my educated guess is that this entry ban will be applied to any person considered to be “Non-Japanese”, not just NJ tourists from overseas; and that includes online ticket sales. Meaning anyone with a foreign-sounding name online will be denied a ticket, and a foreign-looking face denied entry at the door.
Second, what completely astonishes me is the poor physical and social science happening here. Authorities have once again missed the point is the fact that ANY gathering during a pandemic is potentially a super-spreader event. The virus is already in Japan, spread by Japanese, and thus Japanese spectators will infect each other, of course. So if safety is a concern, why aren’t they barring ALL spectators?
Why are they targeting foreigners? Well, partly because the Wajin spectators are already doing it. According to opinion polls cited in the article below, the “public concerns” officials are pointing to indicate that 77% of respondents are against allowing “foreign fans” to attend (while less than half want all spectators banned regardless of nationality). But wait — isn’t this a form of “manufactured consent” — where the government and media continue to portray the issue as “It’s the foreigners who are contagious, not us hygienic Wajin“, and then that becomes a “public concern”? Olympics + Pandemic + Racist Government Policies = Reified Embedded Racism.
Enough. First the unprecedented cost overruns that have made this the most expensive Olympics in history. Then the Mori sexism debacle. And now the potential for a “Japanese Only” Olympics? If you can’t postpone the Games until after the pandemic, I say cancel them already.
This is why Debito.org was always against Japan getting the Games. Hosting international events brings out the worst in Japan’s ethnostatist governing practices, and now it’s clear it encourages the Wajin population at large to become even more racist as well. SITYS. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
NOTE: The JOC and IOC have since agreed to exclude all “overseas spectators” from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. More on that in my SNA column of this month at https://www.debito.org/?p=16504.
Japan to keep foreign spectators away from Tokyo Olympics, Kyodo says
Reuters, Tue, March 9, 2021, By David Dolan and Chris Gallagher, courtesy of NM and MG
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan has decided to stage this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to public concern about COVID-19, Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday, citing officials with knowledge of the matter.
The Tokyo 2020 games organising committee said in response that a decision would be made by the end of March.
The Olympics, postponed by a year because of the pandemic, are scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8 and the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
Kyodo said the government had concluded that welcoming fans from abroad would not be possible given public concern about the coronavirus and the detection of more contagious variants in many countries, Kyodo cited the officials as saying.
The opening ceremony of the torch relay would also be held without any spectators, Kyodo said.
“The organising committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic,” Kyodo said, quoting the officials.
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto has said she wants a decision on whether to let in overseas spectators before the start of the torch relay on March 25.
“Five parties, the IOC, the IPC (International Paralympic Committee), Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the national government, came together for a meeting via online just last week,” the organising committee said in response to the Kyodo report.
“The decision regarding allowing spectators from overseas to attend the Tokyo 2020 Games will be made by the end of March based on factors including the state of infections in Japan and other countries, possible epidemic-prevention measures, and expert scientific advice will be considered.”
Sebastian Coe, the man behind the 2012 London Olympics which enjoyed sell-out crowds, and now President of World Athletics, said the goal was always to ensure “the best possible games for the athletes and having full stadiums of passionate people”, preferably with a “good global presence”.
“With all the work being done around vaccinations and the huge sacrifices large parts of the world have made over the last year, I would hope that fans (international and domestic) will be able to attend (the Tokyo Olympics), of course it would be better,” he told Reuters.
“However, if local communities are concerned, then athletes will accept that and it is a trade-off they are prepared for.”
In the last Olympic Games, the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, local fans accounted for 80 percent of all ticket sales, with international fans buying 20 percent.
Most Japanese people do not want international visitors to attend the Games amid fears that a large influx could spark a resurgence of infections, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed.
The survey showed 77% of respondents were against allowing foreign fans to attend, versus 18% in favour.
Some 48% said they were against allowing any spectators into venues and 45% were in favour.
While coronavirus infection numbers have been relatively low in Japan compared with the United States and many European countries, the country has been hit hard by the third wave of the pandemic and Tokyo remains under a state of emergency.
Japan has recorded more than 441,200 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with the death toll at more than 8,300.
(Reporting by David Dolan, Ossian Shine and Chris Gallagher; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Nick Tattersall, Andrew Heavens, Alex Richardson, William Maclean)
UPDATE MAR 10: Here’s some original text from Kyodo giving the original terminology in context. (There is no full Kyodo article like the one in English (reproduced below in Comments) referred to in the Reuters article above. That’s a composite.)
共同通信 2021/3/9 22:48 (JST)
COMMENT: So now it’s a matter of practical application. Here’s hoping public outrage will force policymakers to make it clear that NJ Residents are not included in the term “海外からの一般観客” (“regular spectators from overseas”).
But that’s not going to come from within Japan, since Reuters noted above that a Yomiuri poll “showed 77% of respondents were against allowing foreign fans to attend” (which again doesn’t have that firewall between NJR and tourists). And now we have to find that Yomiuri poll to see what the original rendering of “foreign fans” was.
My point remains that in practical application, unless the government steps in to clearly distinguish between NJR and tourists, the public won’t, and discrimination will ensue. And as the terminology is rendered in the media, it’s not clear enough. Based upon precedent I have written about for decades, there must be outrage about this. Hence this blog entry. — Debito
UPDATE TWO MAR 10: I found the Yomiuri poll cited in the Reuters article.
読売新聞 2021/03/07 22:00
COMMENT: Again, the term used in the poll is “海外からの観客” (again, “spectators from overseas”) is a poor translation of “foreign fans” on the part of Reuters. — Debito
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