17 days after the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, the Olympics officially ended on August 8th. The Tokyo Olympics are considered to be the most controversial Olympics in history due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On July 13th 2021, about 35% of the Japanese population were in favor of canceling the Olympics, whereas 36% thought it should take place. The question remains, how did the world react after the Olympics? Did global viewers think the short-lived Olympic Games were successful?
Change in the opinion of Japanese people
Surprisingly, a survey conducted by a newspaper called Yomiuri Shinbun found that out of 2478 people in Japan, 64% of them answered that taking part in the Olympics was a good idea. On the other hand, 28% of them said that the Olympics should not have taken place. Compared to the survey before the Olympics, a significant number of people had changed their opinion during the Olympics. In fact, before the Olympics, the highest number of COVID cases in a day was 2520 cases in January 2021. However, on July 27th, the day after the opening ceremony for the Olympics, there were 2846 cases, 300 more than the previous record. Since then, the number of cases kept increasing with a new record high of 5042 cases on August 5th. The increasing Covid cases in Japan suggest that more and more people are challenging the lockdown and becoming more in favor of in-person events. But why are so many inhabitants changing their minds? There are three main reasons; the number of people who go out, feedback from Olympic parties, and COVID cases among Olympians.
Reasons for the change in opinion
According to NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), significantly more people have chosen to stay at home rather than go out or travel since the Olympics started. On July 23th, a Japanese holiday, the number of people who left their homes in Tokyo had decreased by 17%, compared to the previous four weekends. While the exact reason is unknown, many people speculate that such a reduction had occurred as the Olympics had begun, people chose to stay home to watch Olympic games all day rather than go out. Another possible reason is that Japanese people may have wanted to make a good impression on the international Olympians and visitors. Before the Olympics, many people were concerned that athletes and visitors would not be able to enjoy their stay in Tokyo because of the COVID-19 restrictions. However, despite these concerns, the Olympic athletes seemed to have enjoyed their time in Tokyo. For instance, a journalist from Singapore tweeted the excellence of ice that he bought from a convenience store, and went viral with over 28,000 likes. Also, the UK’s gymnastic team — during a video call with President Johnson — praised the Olympic Village’s facilities, such as the dining room where athletes were able to eat anything anytime for free.
The final reason is that the number of COVID cases among Olympic parties remained relatively low. According to a report by NHK, there were only 458 positive cases related to the Olympic Games which included coaches, media, contractors, etc. in the 14 days that the Games lasted. Considering the 17,000 people who traveled to Japan for the Olympics, these 458 positive cases made up a mere 0.02%. These statistics are enough to show that Japan succeeded in protecting themselves and their visitors from the virus.
In addition to those factors, many Japanese people initially disagreed with the Olympics because the mass media was demonizing the games. However, once the Olympics had begun, all TVs stopped reporting negative side-effects and started broadcasting the results of the Olympics, cheering on the athletes. The people who regularly watch the news were thus more likely to change their minds as well once the news outlets shifted their opinion.
Graphs showing this change
Although each person in the world has different opinions about the Olympics, no one should not forget to respect all athletes who participated in the Olympics. All of them have done their best to win gold medals in the Olympics, and they showed us how great sports are with sportsmanship through the 17 days. Some people write defamations to athletes’ social media to criticize their performances, sometimes just because the athletes won a gold medal and the athletes from the people’s countries lost. Such things are unacceptable no matter if they oppose the Olympics or not, and should be punished. Despite Japan’s population divide due to the Olympics in the beginning, it’s fair to say that the majority of the inhabitants were pleased to host the games and welcomed thousands of athletes from around the world.