The COVID-19 pandemic is in full swing, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is at a crossroads. While the pressure is growing from international community to either postpone or cancel the event altogether, the host Japan and the International Olympic Committee are officially expressing a will to pull it through. Complaints are mounting from athletes and sports circles about this indifferent attitude to players’ safety.
Japan and the IOC cite the amount of time left - around four months - as a rationale for digging their heels in because it could be enough for the situation to blow over. But no one knows for sure when and how the coronavirus pandemic is come to an end. Japan and the IOC are relying on uncertain hopes without any tangible plan.
Japan believes that the Olympic Games will usher in the resurgence of the nation’s economy. It is not easy to postpone or cancel the event after funneling in tens of billions of dollars. But it can’t force other countries to sacrifice either. According to John Rawls’ book “A Theory of Justice,” one must not force others into making a sacrifice for someone’s interest no matter how significant it is. It is savagery to arm-twist others to serve one’s own interests.
Even if the financial gains from the Olympics are massive, if one believes they can be traded with the life of a human being, that would be nothing short of mammonism. Such an attitude is simply antithetical to the spirit of Olympics that pursues the harmony of humanity. That is why the media across the globe are stressing the urgency of doing the right thing instead of catering to political and financial interests.
If Japan continues to make irrational decisions, the country will face criticism for sacrificing the entire global community for its own national interests. Should the pandemic continue, a swathe of teams and tourists will not be able to visit Japan anyway, making it almost impossible to host the games normally. Tokyo must take on a new stance open to various circumstances including postponement or cancellation rather than pressing ahead with their initial plan. A more reasonable solution would be to draw up a Plan B in the event the games do get canceled unfortunately. Furthermore, the IOC must assume a more proactive stance instead of currying favor with Japan. The committee should disclose the process of decision-makings regarding the pandemic as it is directly related to the health of people around the world, while opening its ears to more various opinions. If not, suspicion will only grow over the committee’s capacity to make an unbiased, desirable decision on this matter involving a massive amount of money and a web of political interests.
For whom, the Olympics are held? If Olympics are truly a global festival, everyone must feel safe and happy in it.