May 5, 2021
Somewhere along the line 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.
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, said: “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.
Japan has invested nearly $25 billion in hosting. But how much mor e 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.
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.
For 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.
Tokyo’s original budget was $7 billion. It’s now four times that.
“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.
All of this should empower Japan’s leaders to do whatever is best for themselves and their own people.
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.
Hey Simon what do you think? 私に一コメントいわせていただければ・・・
I think Japan should cancel the Olympics – my main reason is because of the exhausted medical personnel, and of course also because of the risk of a further spreading of the virus.
Hey Listeners what do you think? どうぞ自分の”一コメント”をメールで読ませてください
Does anyone, anywhere, think holding the Olympics is a good idea at this point?
(anyone who doesn’t stand to make loads of money from it)
What about the 20% who think the games can still go ahead – what is their thinking behind that?
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