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View events for the week of 5/11/2021
STOP The Madness-Speakout At Japanese Consulate Against Olympics In Japan During Pandemic
Date Tuesday May 11
Time 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Event Type Protest
Organizer/AuthorNo Nukes Action
Location Details
San Francisco Japanese Consulate
275 Battery St/California St.
San Francisco
5/11/21 STOP The Madness-Speakout At SF Japanese Consulate Against Olympics In Japan In Middlel of Pandemic

No Tokyo-Fukushima Olympics In Japan In the Middle Of Pandemic!
San Francisco Japanese Consulate
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 3:00 PM
275 Battery St/California
San Francisco
Sponsored by No Nukes Action

It is time to STOP the Tokyo Olympic Games!
Despite a full blown world pandemic the International Olympics Committee IOC, the Japanese Suga government and the US along with the G7 are going
ahead with the Olympics this coming July in Japan.
The torch bearers have been contaminated with the virus and the Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions, Susumu Morita, said the pandemic should take priority.
“We must stop the proposal to send nurses who are engaged in the fight against a serious coronavirus pandemic to volunteer at the Olympics,”
In the midst of the pandemic the government is demanding that 500 nurses be assigned to protecting the participants in the Olympics. Hospitals are already overloaded
with Covid patients and the Olympics in Japan could lead to a catastrophic disaster for the the athletes, the people of Japan and the world. There are also no plans to
protect the 78,000 volunteers who also will not be vaccinated. According to a report they are "being offered little more than a couple of masks, some hand
sanitizer and social-distancing guidance that may be hard to abide by."

The government is also moving to release over 1 million tons of radioactive water into the Pacifica ocean from the broken Fukushima nuclear power plants. The
previous Prime Minister Abe had told the Olympics and the world that the Fukushiman nuclear disaster had been overcome yet the broken nuclear rods have still
not been removed from the reactors and have to be cooled down with waters adding to the contanmination.

The Japanese govenment knows that over 80% of the people of Japan are opposed to continuing with the plans for the Olympics but the need to get benefits from NBC TV
rights and maintain business as usual despite the pandemic and nuclear crisis. It is threatening to endanger the entire world by bringing tens of thousand of people to Japan
in the middle of a pandemic from countries like India, Brazil and Africa. This insanity is another sign of the criminal negligence and political role of the Japanese LDP politicians
who are supported by Blinken and the US government in their drive to encircle China.

Only the people in the US and around the world can halt this insanity.
Join the rally and speak-out at the Japanese consulate on Tuesday May 11, 2021
Rally & Speak-out Against the Japan Olympics In The Middle Of Covid Pandemic
Thursday March 11, 2021 3PM
San Francisco Japanese Consulate
275 Battery St/California
San Francisco
No Nukes Action
http://nonukesaction.wordpress.com/

Secure medical resources or consider canceling Tokyo Olympics: infectious disease expert

The biggest concern is that the Tokyo Olympics could trigger the spread of infections to the rest of the world after the games are over. Discrimination against Asians is spreading in the U.S., partly because the first COVID-19 case was found in Wuhan, China.

Hamada said, "If infections spread to the rest of the world amid anti-Asian sentiment, it will become an international problem. It is necessary to confirm negative results when leaving Japan. However, this work will also put pressure on medical resources."

May 6, 2021 (Mainichi Japan)

This March 2020 file photo shows Dr. Atsuo Hamada. (Mainichi/Shogo Takagi)
TOKYO -- As the spread of the coronavirus has become a major obstacle to hosting the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, "securing medical resources" is an essential condition for hosting the games this summer, an expert on infectious diseases has pointed out.

"Doctors and nurses will be needed to treat and respond to those infected with the coronavirus, and medical personnel will also be needed for vaccinations. These are the two priorities of the people," said Dr. Atsuo Hamada, a professor of travel medicine at Tokyo Medical University. He continued, "The question is if we can allocate medical resources to hold the Olympics (while handling those priorities)."

Hamada then said with conviction, "If that is difficult, we have no choice but to cancel the Olympics."

According to Hamada, the first issue that must be addressed before the games can be held is how to deal with mutant strains. Hamada points out that while Japan is in a "state of isolation" and has prohibited first-timer foreign nationals from entering the country in principle, "variant strains have been found in Japanese nationals returning home."

In addition, tens of thousands of people, including coaches, referees, media personnel and more than 10,000 athletes are expected to enter Japan for the games. Hamada said, "It is inevitable that an even greater burden will be placed on quarantine, which is already struggling to secure manpower, and the risk of increasing variant cases will be higher."

The Japanese government has indicated that, in principle, athletes will be tested for the coronavirus daily, but this is also likely to place a heavy burden on medical services. The key, Hamada said, is to vaccinate athletes and officials, as recommended by the International Olympic Committee.

"Recent studies have shown that vaccinations are effective in preventing infections, as in Israel, where most of the population has been vaccinated twice. It is better to vaccinate athletes coming from overseas as much as possible. This will reduce the probability of mutant strains being carried into Japan, which will help lighten the burden on the medical field."

Hamada proposes that, if the games were to go ahead as planned, they should be held without spectators to ease the burden on the health care system. "If we allowed spectators, the risk of clusters of infections occurring at competition sites or in the city would increase. At this point, no one can predict the state of infections in July, so it is better to take measures based on the assumption that there will be no spectators," he said.

The biggest concern is that the Tokyo Olympics could trigger the spread of infections to the rest of the world after the games are over. Discrimination against Asians is spreading in the U.S., partly because the first COVID-19 case was found in Wuhan, China.

Hamada said, "If infections spread to the rest of the world amid anti-Asian sentiment, it will become an international problem. It is necessary to confirm negative results when leaving Japan. However, this work will also put pressure on medical resources."

(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Tahara, Sports News Department)

Japan nurses voice anger at call to volunteer for Tokyo Olympics amid Covid crisis
Medical staff say their focus should remain on treating coronavirus patients rather than helping hold Games

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/may/03/japan-nurses-voice-anger-at-call-to-volunteer-for-tokyo-olympics-amid-covid-crisis

A nurse receives the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Fujita Health University Hospital in Toyoake, Aichi prefecture, central Japan,
A recent request to the Japanese Nursing Association to send 500 of its members to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was met with a wave of anger. Photograph: AP
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Mon 3 May 2021 03.07 EDT

The organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have sparked anger in Japan’s medical community after they asked 500 nurses to volunteer at this summer’s Games.
The request came as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organisers pressed ahead with plans to hold the Games, even as the coronavirus pandemic continued to worsen in the host nation, amid warnings that the event could place an intolerable strain on exhausted health workers.
The total number of Covid-19 deaths in Japan recently passed 10,000 – the highest in the region – while media reports said the number of people with severe Covid-19 symptoms reached a record 1,050 at the weekend.
Medical staff in Tokyo and other areas where cases are surging say their professional focus must remain on coronavirus patients and people with other illnesses who have had their treatment delayed due to the virus.
Osaka prefecture, the epicentre of Japan’s fourth wave, has run out of beds for seriously ill patients, with other people suffering from the virus forced to spend hours waiting in ambulances before they can be admitted.
Olympic officials say 10,000 medical workers will be needed during the Games, which will be held during the hottest time of the year.
But a recent request to the Japanese Nursing Association to send 500 of its members to Tokyo 2020 was met with a wave of anger on social media from nurses who said they were too busy to devote time to the Olympics.
A tweet by a local federation of medical unions outlining it opposition to performing Olympic duties has received hundreds of thousands of retweets in recent days.
The secretary general of the Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions, Susumu Morita, said the pandemic should take priority. “We must stop the proposal to send nurses who are engaged in the fight against a serious coronavirus pandemic to volunteer at the Olympics,” Morita said in a statement.
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“I am furious at the insistence on staging the Olympics despite the risk to patients’ and nurses’ health and lives.”
Although medical workers were the first group in Japan to start receiving vaccines in mid-February, many have yet to be given their first jab. Morita said unprotected medical staff fear contracting the virus while treating patients or administering vaccines.
So far, less than 2% of Japan’s population of 126 million has received at least one dose – the lowest rate among OECD countries.
“Beyond feeling anger, I was stunned at the insensitivity [of the request],” Mikito Ikeda, a nurse in the central city of Nago, told Associated Press. “It shows how human life is being taken lightly.”
The prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, provoked dismay when he suggested that nurses who had stopped working, including those suffering from stress and exhaustion, could be enlisted for Tokyo 2020.
“I hear many are taking time off, and so it should be possible,” he said last week.
His comment drew criticism from Yukio Hatoyama, a former prime minister, who tweeted: “Now people in Japan are barely getting by, wondering if they will die from the coronavirus or as a result of the economic slump. And Osaka and other places are asking for nurses to help out. Don’t we need nurses to work at vaccination centres?”
Opposition MP Tomoko Tamura said: “The situation is extremely serious. Nurses don’t know how they can possibly take care of this situation. It is physically impossible.”
While Suga repeats claims by the IOC and organisers that it will be possible to put on a “safe and secure Olympics in 81 days’ time, medical experts are increasingly sceptical. An article in April’s BMJ said Japan should “reconsider” holding the Olympics, arguing that “international mass gathering events … are still neither safe nor secure”.
Haruo Ozaki, head of the Tokyo Medical Association, has said it will be “extremely difficult” to hold the Olympics now that new, more transmissible variants of the virus are spreading in Japan, where the cumulative caseload recently topped 600,000.
On Sunday, Japan reported 5,900 new infections and a further 61 deaths.
“We have heard enough of the spiritual argument about wanting the Games,” Ozaki said. “It is extremely difficult to hold them without increasing infections, both inside and outside Japan.”
Suga last month declared a state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and two other virus hotspots in an attempt to check the surge in cases, with restaurants that serve alcohol asked to close until at least 11 May and “dry” establishments to cut their opening hours.
With Associated Press

Japan should cut its losses and tell the IOC to take its Olympic pillage somewhere else
https://www.washingtonpost.com/.../japan-ioc-olympic.../
Image without a caption
A boat sails past illuminated Olympic rings floating in the waters off Odaiba island in Tokyo last month. (Toru Hanai/Bloomberg)
By
Sally Jenkins
Columnist
May 5, 2021 at 2:00 a.m. PDT
Add to list
Somewhere along the line Baron Von Ripper-off and the other gold-plated pretenders at the International Olympic Committee decided to treat Japan as their footstool. But Japan didn’t surrender its sovereignty when it agreed to host the Olympics. If the Tokyo Summer Games have become a threat to the national interest, Japan’s leaders should tell the IOC to go find another duchy to plunder. A cancellation would be hard — but it would also be a cure.
Von Ripper-off, a.k.a. IOC President Thomas Bach, and his attendants have a bad habit of ruining their hosts, like royals on tour who consume all the wheat sheaves in the province and leave stubble behind. Where, exactly, does the IOC get off imperiously insisting that the Games must go on, when fully 72 percent of the Japanese public is reluctant or unwilling to entertain 15,000 foreign athletes and officials in the midst of a pandemic?
The answer is that the IOC derives its power strictly from the Olympic “host contract.” It’s a highly illuminating document that reveals much about the highhanded organization and how it leaves host nations with crippling debts. Seven pages are devoted to “medical services” the host must provide — free of charge — to anyone with an Olympic credential, including rooms at local hospitals expressly reserved for them and only them. Tokyo organizers have estimated they will need to divert about 10,000 medical workers to service the IOC’s demands.
Eight Olympic workers tested positive for the coronavirus during the torch relay last week — though they were wearing masks. Less than 2 percent of Japan’s population is vaccinated. Small wonder the head of Japan’s medical workers’ union, Susumu Morita, is incensed at the prospect of draining mass medical resources. “I am furious at the insistence on staging the Olympics despite the risk to patients’ and nurses’ health and lives,” he said in a statement.
Olympic officials are determined to have a Tokyo Games despite Japan’s growing doubts
Japan’s leaders should cut their losses and cut them now, with 11 weeks left to get out of the remainders of this deal. The Olympics always cost irrational sums — and they lead to irrational decisions. And it’s an irrational decision to host an international mega-event amid a global pandemic. It’s equally irrational to keep tossing good money after bad.
At this point, money is the chief reason anyone is even considering going forward with a Summer Games. Japan has invested nearly $25 billion in hosting. But how much more will it cost to try to bubble 15,000 visitors, with daily testing and other protocols, and to provide the security and massive logistics and operating costs? And what might a larger disaster cost?
Suppose Japan were to break the contract. What would the IOC do? Sue? If so, in what court of justice? Who would have jurisdiction? What would such a suit do to the IOC’s reputation — forcing the Games in a stressed and distressed nation during a pandemic?
Japan’s leaders have more leverage than they may realize — at the very least, they are in position to extract maximal concessions from the IOC for hosting some limited or delayed version of the Games, one more protective of the host.
The predicament in Tokyo is symptomatic of a deeper, longer-lasting illness in the Olympics. The Games have become a to-the-very-brink exercise in pain and exhaustion for everyone involved, and fewer countries are willing to accept these terms. Greed and blowout costs have rendered it an event that courts extreme disaster. In September, a report out of Oxford University’s business school found that the IOC has consistently “misled” countries about the risks and costs of hosting. Example: The IOC pretends that a contingency of about 9.1 percent is adequate to cover unforeseen expenses.
The true average cost overrun on a Summer Games? It’s 213 percent.
The IOC understates these risks for a reason: because fewer and fewer countries want to do business with it after seeing all the pillage.
The IOC intentionally encourages excess. It mandates elaborate facilities and events for the sake of revenue, most of which it keeps for itself while dumping the costs entirely on the host, which must guarantee all the financing. The IOC sets the size and design standards, demands the hosts spend bigger and bigger — against all better judgment — while holding close the licensing profits and broadcasts fees. Tokyo’s original budget was $7 billion. It’s now four times that.
China controls the IOC and Olympic sponsors the way it governs its citizens: Through fear
In the Oxford paper, “Regression to the Tail: Why the Olympics Blow Up,” authors Bent Flyvbjerg, Alexander Budzier and Daniel Lunn observe that the Games dwarf every other national building project on earth in terms of cost blowouts — even mega-dams and tunnel digs. The ever-increasing complexity and expense, and the long window of planning (seven to 11 years) make them a project with high uncertainty that can be affected by everything from inflation to terrorist threat and “the risk of a big, fat black swan flying through it.” The Rio Games, held in 2016 in the midst of brutal economic downturn, were 352 percent over their original budget. And these blowouts are “systematic,” not happenstance.
“Either the IOC is deluded about the real cost-risks when it insists that a 9.1 percent contingency is sufficient, or the Committee deliberately overlooks the uncomfortable facts. In either case, host cities and nations are misled,” they write.
This is why virtually the only government leaders that will have anything to do with the IOC anymore are thugocrats such as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, who can coerce labor and spend limitlessly for prestige. Over the past 20 years, other potential hosts have dried up. Among those who have wisely said no to the IOC: Barcelona, Boston, Budapest, Davos, Hamburg, Krakow, Munich, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm and Toronto. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who wrested away key concessions from the IOC for the 2028 Games, has observed that most cities “will never say yes to the Olympics again unless they find the right model.” This is where the barons’ gluttony has led them.
All of this should empower Japan’s leaders to do whatever is best for themselves and their own people. When the Games reasonably could be portrayed as a source of international tourism revenue, perhaps some of the expense could be justified. But now the costs to the Japanese people run much deeper than financial. If ever there was a time and place to remember that the IOC is a fake principality, an oft-corrupt cash receptacle for peddlers with pretensions of grandeur, this is it. The IOC has no real powers, other than those temporarily granted by participant countries, and Japan owes it nothing. A cancellation would be painful — but cleansing.

[Mayday] Japan Medical workers give a real demonstration "# I'm having trouble dispatching nurses to the Olympics”

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=https://tanakaryusaku.jp/&prev=search&pto=aue


The nurse was indignant at the request to dispatch the Olympic Organizing Committee and showed a firm refusal. = 1st, Sumida Ward Photo: Ryusaku Tanaka =

 Even medical care is used as a tool for making money, and life and health are secondary. Under the neo-liberal line, the plan to make the metropolitan hospital legal is underway.

 The "mobilization of 10,000 medical staff" and "request for dispatch of 500 nurses" by the Olympic Organizing Committee came out as a natural consequence.

 A time when workers are thrown away. Despising medical workers will despise the lives and health of the people.
 
 Today, on May Day, nurses, hospital staff, and health center staff marched in Tokyo, complaining that "don't mobilize medical workers for the Olympics" and "reject the request to dispatch nurses." (Organizer: Fight to survive 2021 May Day Executive Committee)


"Olympic games of money rather than life". He pointed out the essence of the matter. = 1st, Sumida Ward Photo: Ryusaku Tanaka =

 A nurse working in a nursing home in Tokyo said, "How can I turn it when I can't afford it? If you turn it with too few people, medical errors may occur."

 The "request for the dispatch of 500 nurses" is a madness. It's a crazy square because I'm trying to make it work for free.

 I hope that the medical workers who take care of the lives and health of the people will awaken their sanity.


Prime Minister Suga is also a source of confusion. = 1st, Sumida Ward Photo: Ryusaku Tanaka =

 
      ~ End ~

    ◇
"Tanaka Ryusaku Journal" tells about events that newspaper TV does not report or cannot report. It is maintained with the support of our readers. ↓


In Japan Big deck in the hospital window and "Medical care is the limit Stop the Olympics”
https://tanakaryusaku.jp/2021/05/00024921?fbclid=IwAR339p2dtrAdZiliue0p7F_uD-8N4RX7AcnekzUvUIZ4r_b90tfXZcOcwSQ


= 4th night, Tachikawa City Photo: Ryusaku Tanaka =

 A general hospital in Tachikawa, Tokyo. The phrases "Medical care is the limit, stop the Olympics" and "Already the Kamben Olympics" were affixed to the windows one by one.

 The screams of the medical staff who have been transcribed are transmitted to the outside world. According to the office staff on duty, "the hospital staff posted it."

 There was a Twitter demonstration of "#Nurse dispatching to the Olympics is a problem", and there was a real demonstration of "Nurse dispatching, categorically refusing" in Tokyo.

 A nurse in Tokyo said, "The hospital has a connection with the politicians of the Liberal Democratic Party, and it is difficult to express their intentions."

 Hospitals all over Japan should post "Medical care is the limit Olympics stop" and "Kanben Olympics Muri" like general hospitals in Tachikawa city.


The overhang can also be seen from the monorail passing by. = 4th night, Tachikawa City Photo: Ryusaku Tanaka =


“Top Kiwi epidemiologist says Olympics must be postponed - and why Government should take action”
(NZ Herald 2 May, 2021 02:15 PM).

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/top-kiwi-epidemiologist-says-olympics-must-be-postponed-and-why-government-should-take-action/FIY32UWL7EGV2JDMPIB6BBFH3A/?fbclid=IwAR1QM9DYA1jFsXj_vVrMAduHUH9EPAqssqAAIOLNxJz01Dt2GsbDo4rI__c

1 May, 2021 10:15 PM
Dame Valerie Adams getting her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. Video / Brett Phibbs
NZ Herald
A top epidemiologist says the Olympics should be postponed because of the pandemic and is calling for the New Zealand Government to take action.
About 450 New Zealanders will be heading to Tokyo for the Olympics, which is set to kick off on July 23.
Kiwi athletes have received priority vaccinations and support from the Government to make their travel as safe as possible, including MIQ spots on their return.
Otago University professor Michael Baker believes the issue with the Olympics isn't about the safety of New Zealand athletes, but about the message it sends to the rest of the world that are still being ravaged by Covid-19.
Baker points to the situation in India, which is experiencing hundreds of thousands of new cases per day, adding that having the Olympics this year is morally wrong.
"You basically have to look at how the pandemic's behaving globally. It's very unequal. It's intensifying in countries like India to a huge extent," Baker told Newstalk ZB's The Weekend Collective.
"The Olympics are all about celebrating this level playing field, global unity and overcoming Covid-19 – that's what was the statement made when the decision was made early this year to go ahead. So much global unity in overcoming Covid-19 are we seeing at the moment?
"It's not about the safety of New Zealand athletes. I think that's for sure with vaccinations and other precautions. It's what this says about low income countries around the globe. Is this fair and reasonable? Because for their athletes to be vaccinated and attend, they have to divert vaccine from the most vulnerable. And these are people who are dying every day. It is a matter of life or death for many countries in the world."
A mother and a boy walk by a display of the Olympic rings at the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. Photo / AP
Yesterday Baker also said the Government and the New Zealand Olympics Committee need to take a stance on this year's Games.
"We should recognise what is at stake here and I would really like to see New Zealand government take a firm stance on this," he told Stuff. "The New Zealand Olympic Committee should be saying they are not going to have a bar of it. Someone needs to say the obvious – that it should not happen now.”

How Can the Olympics Protect 78,000 Volunteers From the Coronavirus?
They are being offered little more than a couple of masks, some hand sanitizer and social-distancing guidance that may be hard to abide by.
https://www.nytimes.com/.../olympics-volunteers...
With less than three months to go before the opening ceremony, many details are still being worked out for the Summer Games in Tokyo.
With less than three months to go before the opening ceremony, many details are still being worked out for the Summer Games in Tokyo.Credit...Philip Fong/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
By Motoko Rich
Published May 2, 2021
Updated May 3, 2021, 9:17 a.m. ET
TOKYO — For Olympic host cities, one of the keys to a successful Games is the army of volunteers who cheerfully perform a range of duties, like fetching water, driving Olympic vehicles, interpreting for athletes or carrying medals to ceremonies.
If the rescheduled Tokyo Games go ahead as planned this summer, roughly 78,000 volunteers will have another responsibility: preventing the spread of the coronavirus, both among participants and themselves.
For protection, the volunteers are being offered little more than a couple of cloth masks, a bottle of sanitizer and mantras about social distancing. Unless they qualify for vaccination through Japan’s slow age-based rollout, they will not be inoculated against the coronavirus.
“I don’t know how we’re going to be able to do this,” said Akiko Kariya, 40, a paralegal in Tokyo who signed up to volunteer as an interpreter. The Olympic committee “hasn’t told us exactly what they will do to keep us safe.”
As organizers have scrambled to assure the globe that Tokyo can pull off the Games in the midst of a pandemic, the volunteers have been left largely on their own to figure out how to avoid infection.
Much of the planning for the postponed Olympics has a seat-of-the-pants quality. With less than three months to go before the opening ceremony, the organizers have yet to decide whether domestic spectators will be admitted, or hammer out details about who, besides the athletes, will be tested regularly.
Tens of thousands of participants will descend on Tokyo from more than 200 countries after nearly a year in which Japan’s borders have been largely closed to outsiders. The volunteers’ assignments will bring them into contact with many of the Olympic visitors, as they pass in and out of a “bubble” that will encompass the Olympic Village and other venues.
ImageBarbara G. Holthus, a volunteer and deputy director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo, said she worries that the Olympic Games could become a superspreader event.
Barbara G. Holthus, a volunteer and deputy director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo, said she worries that the Olympic Games could become a superspreader event.Credit...Noriko Hayashi for The New York Times
“There are a lot of people who have to go in and out of the bubble, and they are not protected at all and not even being tested,” said Barbara G. Holthus, a volunteer and deputy director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo. “I do see the risk of a superspreader event.”
A leaflet distributed to volunteers advises them to ask visitors to stand at least one meter — a little over three feet — apart. During shifts, they should disinfect their hands frequently. If offering assistance to someone, they should avoid directly facing the other person and never talk without a mask.
“Mask wearing and hand washing are very basic, but doing that to the max is the most important thing we can do,” said Natsuki Den, senior director of volunteer promotion for the Tokyo organizing committee.
“People often say, ‘That is so basic, is that all you can do?’” Ms. Den said. But if every volunteer implements these basic measures, she said, “it can really limit the risk. Beyond that, it is hard to think of any magic countermeasures, because they don’t really exist.”
Even as a majority of the Japanese public has remained opposed to hosting the Olympics this year, many volunteers say they are committed, at least in principle, to fostering international fellowship after more than a year of isolation. (The ranks of volunteers did take a sizable hit when about 1,000 volunteers quit after the first president of the Tokyo organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, made sexist comments.)
But volunteers worry about their own health as well as the safety of the athletes and other Olympic participants, especially as Tokyo experiences new spikes in virus cases. The capital is currently under a state of emergency.
“I am scared that I would get the virus and show no symptoms, and accidentally give it to the athletes,” said Yuto Hirano, 30, who works at a technology company in Tokyo and is assigned to help athletes backstage at the Paralympics events for boccia, a ball sport. “I want to protect myself so that I can protect them.”
Yuto Hirano, a volunteer assigned to help at the Paralympics events for boccia, is worried about unintentionally infecting athletes during the Games.
Yuto Hirano, a volunteer assigned to help at the Paralympics events for boccia, is worried about unintentionally infecting athletes during the Games.Credit...Noriko Hayashi for The New York Times
In addition to the Olympic volunteers, organizers need to secure medical workers to staff the Games. Typically, doctors and nurses also volunteer to work at the Olympics, but this year, with the medical system overstretched from a year of fighting the coronavirus, health care workers have begun to balk.
“We are surprised about the talk going around requesting the dispatch of 500 nurses to the Tokyo Olympics,” the Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions said in a statement posted on its website, adding that “now is not the time for the Olympics, it’s time for coronavirus countermeasures.”
As the pandemic rages on, some nonmedical volunteers are going to great lengths to keep safe. Yoko Aoshima, 49, who teaches English at a business college in Shizuoka, about 90 miles outside Tokyo, has booked a hotel for the days she is scheduled to work, at a cost of 110,000 yen, or about $1,000. That means she won’t have to commute.
To avoid public transit in Tokyo, she plans to purchase a bicycle when she gets to Tokyo to commute to the field hockey stadium where she is assigned shifts.
But Ms. Aoshima, who decided to volunteer in part to honor the legacy of her father, a former physical education teacher, wonders how she will protect her family when she returns home after the Games.
“When I go back to Shizuoka, is it safe enough for my family to stay with me?” Ms. Aoshima asked. “Will I be able to go back to work?” She said she had already purchased a few at-home coronavirus tests to use after the Olympics.
Yoko Aoshima wonders how she will protect her family when she returns home after the Games.
Yoko Aoshima wonders how she will protect her family when she returns home after the Games.Credit...Noriko Hayashi for The New York Times
For volunteers who have spent the last year avoiding crowds, the concept of suddenly being thrust into contact with athletes, coaches, officials or members of the media from outside Japan is triggering a sense of cognitive dissonance.
“I only saw one friend last year, when she had a baby,” said Ms. Kariya, the paralegal in Tokyo. “I go to the supermarket or the bank, where I really need to go. The last time I rode the train was last March.”
In the absence of more safety measures, Ms. Kariya said she was considering quitting as a volunteer.
Many volunteers are disappointed that they will not be offered vaccines before the Games. So far, organizers have said they are not considering prioritizing Japan’s Olympic athletes for vaccination, much less volunteers.
“They can’t say they have priority, because then the people would start shouting at them,” said Chiharu Nishikawa, 61, who goes by Charles. He volunteered at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and London in 2012 and advises the Olympic committee about volunteering.
Some volunteers said they were worried that organizers did not have the resources to monitor everyone for adherence to the rules, which include wearing masks, avoiding dining in restaurants and staying off public transit.
Image
Chiharu Nishikawa, called Charles, volunteered at the previous two Summer Games and advises the Olympic committee about volunteering.
Chiharu Nishikawa, called Charles, volunteered at the previous two Summer Games and advises the Olympic committee about volunteering.Credit...Noriko Hayashi for The New York Times
Ms. Holthus said volunteers could be put in a sticky spot, given that their primary role is to project an image of harmonious hospitality.
A volunteer handbook issued before the Olympics was postponedlast year encouraged them to “address people with a smile.” In online sessions and other messaging since, Ms. Holthus said, “They still keep saying, ‘Oh, and your smile is going to be so important.’”
“We’re supposed to be wearing masks,” she said. “So I find that very insensitive.”
Not every volunteer has serious concerns about safety. Some said that they expected widespread compliance with the rules, given what’s on the line.
“I think athletes will do whatever it takes to participate in the Olympics,” said Philbert Ono, a travel writer, photographer and translator.
“If we tell them to wear a mask, they will wear a mask,” he said. “When they have meals, they will sit way far apart and separated and facing only one direction. So I think they are very disciplined and they know what is at stake.”
Hikari Hida contributed reporting.
468480fe7d6d060093f7692f27938029-1.jpg
Added to the calendar on Thursday May 6th, 2021 11:30 AM
§Vast Majority Of Japanese People Oppose Having Olympics In Middle Of Pandemic
by No Nukes Action
Thursday May 6th, 2021 11:30 AM
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Over 80% of the people of Japan are opposed to holding the Olympics in Japan in the middle of a pandemic. The Japanese government and LDP Prime Minister Suga don't care what the people think and they are backed by the Biden administration and his Secretary of State Blinken along with the G7 who have supported this insanity.
§Stop Tokyo Olympics To Save Our Lives!
by No Nukes Action
Thursday May 6th, 2021 11:30 AM
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Stop The Tokyo Olympics To Save Our Lives! The government of Japan is putting the Olympics over saving the lives of the people of Japan and the world. This criminal insanity will only be stopped by the action of people in the US and around the world.
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Tokyo hospital posts messages on windows: ‘Stop Olympics’repostFriday May 7th, 2021 4:44 AM
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