Japan, Olympics and COVID-19

    May 21, 2021 @ 11:30 AM / by Jimmy Shimizu

    Tokyo, Japan cityscape and highways.

    What comes to your mind first when you hear "Tokyo"?

    Of course, the automatic connection everyone makes, it is the capital of Japan. For those who have been lucky enough to visit the city, it reminds one of how it is both safe and clean while being one of the largest cities in the world.  It has frequently been praised for having an unusually time-accurate public transportation system, which amazes most everyone given the large population, and leaves most wishing their home city had such great service. Nowadays, "the Olympics" is what comes to mind when talking about Tokyo.

    Tokyo Olympics

    As you know, the Tokyo Olympics were scheduled to be held in the summer of 2020, but given the global COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed until the summer of 2021. With the summer now approaching, the opening ceremony is expected to happen on July 23rd. The Japanese people are proud to be hosting the Olympics for the second time with the first being over 50 years ago in 1964. Everyone hoped the pandemic would be over by this time so the Olympics could be held in Tokyo safely and peacefully.

    Impact of COVID-19

    Japan is a country with very safe and high medical standards, and because of those standards, the infection rate of COVID-19 has been kept relatively low, however in April, due to the new coronavirus variant, Tokyo along with other major cities like Osaka were forced into a “third” lockdown. Even after two-weeks, the situation has only marginally improved. Meanwhile, the vaccination implementation process has been relatively slow in Japan. As of May 16th, only 1.6% of total population in Japan have completed the  2nd dose of Pfizer.  In Japan, Moderna, J&J or others are not yet authorized. As of the end of April, the vaccination rate remains at only about 2%, which is far behind other countries. Even though there are countries where the vaccine program is going at a more rapid pace, there are many countries and regions where the situation is worsening due to the new coronavirus variant.

    The Olympics are a great opportunity to let people all over the world learn about Tokyo’s wonderful people, culture, and cutting-edge technology, but given the current circumstances, many Japanese citizens are concerned about holding the Olympics this summer, given that it will bring people in from all around the world. 

    What will happen to the Tokyo Olympics under these circumstances?

    July 23rd is fast approaching. All eyes are on Tokyo waiting to see how they handle putting on the international event of the year!

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    Topics: Japan, Tokyo, COVID-19, vaccine, Olympics

    Jimmy Shimizu

    Written by Jimmy Shimizu

    Jimmy Shimizu joined AIRINC as Director and Executive Vice President in October 2016. Jimmy supports AIRINC on site from the Board of Directors standpoint. Before joining AIRINC, Jimmy spent about 10 years with family in the US and about 3 years in Brazil to lead local subsidiaries of a Japanese corporation. Including his AIRINC era, Jimmy has spent a long time as an expatriate with family, so he knows full well of both the pleasure and challenge of expatriate life. Jimmy earned his bachelor’s degree in Spanish Linguistics, and in Latin American History from Kyoto University of Foreign Studies in 1990. He speaks business-level Japanese, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.