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… 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…
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.
COMMENT: 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, 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.