A year late, at empty stadiums in the world’s biggest city, the Olympic Games have begun mid-pandemic.
Athletes are to compete without mingling, to dine alone and to take their free condoms home.
A spectacle that cost some $15.5 billion will bring no tourism, next to no ticket revenue and no economic boon. Intended to showcase Japan’s recovery from the devastating 2011 earthquake, the Tokyo Olympics has instead become so toxic that even sponsors such as Toyota have decided to give airwaves and the opening ceremony a wide berth.
Some have found a silver lining in a pre-Games pickup in vaccination rates for Japan, where only 20% of the population is fully inoculated. But for the more than two-thirds who said they don’t believe the event can be held safely, it will be a nervous fortnight of hoping the virus is kept behind the sidelines.