Live Updates: Tokyo Prepares for the Olympics

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

TOKYO — The opening ceremony is Friday and the first competitions are Wednesday. But organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, delayed one 12 months by the pandemic, are struggling to handle public anxiousness about the Games after an outbreak of coronavirus instances that threaten to overshadow the festivities.

As about 20,000 athletes, coaches, referees and different officers have poured into Japan in current days, greater than two dozen of them have examined constructive for the virus, together with three instances inside the Olympic Village. An extra 33 employees members or contractors who’re Japanese residents engaged on the Games have examined constructive.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed Monday that an alternate on the ladies’s gymnastics group had examined constructive for the coronavirus whereas in coaching in Chiba prefecture exterior Tokyo.

Kara Eaker, 18, of Grain Valley, Mo., examined constructive early Monday and commenced a 10 to 14 day quarantine, her coach, Al Fong, stated in a textual content message later that day from Tokyo. He added that she “feels fine.” Last month, in a video name with reporters, Eaker stated she had obtained the vaccine.

Fong additionally stated that Leanne Wong, Eaker’s teammate at his GAGE Center gymnasium in Blue Springs, Mo., can also be beneath quarantine as a result of she is a thought of a detailed contact. She is anticipated to stay in quarantine till about July 31, the coach stated.

Wong, who’s 17 and from Overland Park, Kansas, stated at the Olympic trials earlier this month that she had not been vaccinated. Asked why she had made that selection, she stated she wasn’t certain.

“I haven’t really talked to my parents about it much,” Wong stated. “But I know they’re scientists, and they develop drugs as well, so they’re just waiting to get the vaccine.”

Olympics organizers have stated their measures — together with repeated testing, social distancing and restrictions on motion — would restrict, however not eradicate, coronavirus instances. The Games, initially scheduled for 2020, had been postponed a 12 months in the hopes the pandemic would have eased by then and they’d herald a triumphant return to regular.

Instead, they’ve develop into a reminder of the endurance of the virus and have fed a debate over whether or not Japan and the International Olympic Committee have their priorities straight.

Such is the unease that Toyota, considered one of the prime company sponsors of the Games, introduced Monday it might not run any Olympic-themed tv commercials throughout them.

“There are many issues with these Games that are proving difficult to be understood,” Jun Nagata, the firm’s chief communications officer, informed reporters, based on The Associated Press.

The three individuals who examined constructive inside the Olympic Village had been from the South African soccer group, together with two athletes and one official. They had been remoted in a separate constructing whereas an extra 21 folks in shut contact with them are quarantining of their rooms.

Masa Takaya, a spokesman for the Tokyo organizing committee, stated athletes who had been in shut contact with those that examined constructive can be allowed to coach in the event that they in any other case observe the isolation restrictions. Athletes are examined each day and in the event that they check adverse inside six hours of a contest, they are going to be allowed to play.

Another six athletes and two Olympics employees members from Britain had been additionally isolating after that they had been knowledgeable that that they had sat close to an individual on their flight to Tokyo who had examined constructive for the coronavirus at the airport.

The Associated Press reported that Ondřej Perušič’, a seashore volleyball participant competing for the Czech Republic, had additionally examined constructive in the Olympic Village.

At a information convention over the weekend, Christophe Dubi, the International Olympic Committee’s sports activities director, stated “there is no such thing as zero risk,” including that by testing and rigorous contact tracing and fast isolation, the Olympic Village can be “a Covid-safe environment but not Covid free.”

The Japanese public stays anxious about the staging of the Olympics amid a gradual rollout of vaccines and a current rise in coronavirus instances in the capital. Daily case counts have exceeded 1,000 for a number of days for the first time since mid-May. Tokyo is beneath a state of emergency. A ballot by the Kyodo News, a wire service, launched over the weekend confirmed 87 % of these surveyed stated they had been anxious about internet hosting the Olympics throughout the pandemic.

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The Summer Olympics all the time begin a few days earlier than the opening ceremony, which is Friday.

The Games actually have a nomenclature for these early hen occasions. Saturday, when the Olympics actually get going, is formally Day 1; the opening ceremony takes place on Day 0, and the earlier competitions are Days -1 and -2.

So right here’s what’s on faucet for Day -2, higher generally known as Wednesday (or Tuesday evening in the Eastern United States).

The Games start at 9 a.m. Tokyo time (eight p.m. Eastern on Tuesday) when Australia and Japan play the first recreation of a softball triple header. The United States, which performs Italy three hours later, is the heavy softball favourite, however Japan is taken into account to have the greatest probability to upset the Americans.

Later in the day, six ladies’s soccer video games will get underway, together with the World Cup champion, the United States, in opposition to Sweden at 5:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. Eastern for the early birds).

On Day -1, or Thursday for those who insist, males’s soccer and softball video games are scheduled. The U.S. softball group performs its second recreation of the event, in opposition to Canada, after which the favored residence group Japan takes on Mexico. (The baseball event begins July 28 with the U.S. group enjoying its first recreation on July 30; an earlier model of this text erroneously acknowledged that the U.S. baseball group begins play on Thursday.)

In males’s soccer, considered one of the marquee matches of pool play will match two of the favorites: Germany and Brazil.

Two extra sports activities get underway on Friday, Day 0, earlier than the opening ceremony at eight p.m. Tokyo time (7 a.m. Eastern). There are a number of heats in rowing, and an archery spherical that serves to rank the opponents for the later knockout phases.

Also listed on the schedule are “pre-event training” in capturing and a “horse inspection” for equestrians.

One factor all these preamble occasions have in widespread: None will eradicate any athletes or groups. When the opening ceremony begins, everybody will nonetheless theoretically have a shot at gold.

The hot sand at the beach volleyball practice court had to be hosed down to facilitate play.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

TOKYO — It is sort of too sizzling for seashore volleyball.

The Summer Olympics are anticipated to be the hottest on record, and the doubtlessly harmful warmth is already having an impression days earlier than Friday’s opening ceremony.

Tokyo residents this week are being warned to not train exterior, however Olympic athletes have little selection however to confront the metropolis’s depraved — and typically lethal — mixture of warmth and humidity.

At out of doors venues round the metropolis, like Shiokaze Park, residence of seashore volleyball, last-minute preparations are being made to guard athletes, officers and volunteers.

During coaching periods on Monday morning, volleyball gamers discovered the sand too sizzling for their ft. Workers hosed down the sand to make it palatable, and athletes huddled beneath umbrellas to cover from the searing solar.

Japan’s Ministry of the Environment uses a color-coded scale to warn residents about the risks. Much of Monday in Tokyo was categorized as “orange (severe warning),” due to temperatures 82.Four to 87.eight levels Fahrenheit (28 to 31 levels Celsius).

“Heavy exercise prohibited,” the warning acknowledged.

In some components of central Tokyo, afternoon temperatures over 88 levels (31 Celsius) elicited the next warning: “Exercise prohibited.”

In Hachioji, a suburb west of Tokyo, as much as 32 folks had been hospitalized Monday with heatstroke, based on a local television report.

Japan takes the warmth severely. In 2018 and 2019, greater than 1,000 folks died of heat-related diseases, the authorities reported.

The fear grows with international warming, however it isn’t new. Tokyo held the 1964 Summer Games in October largely to keep away from the midsummer warmth, however by no means pitched the 2020 Olympics exterior of the July and August timeframe that the International Olympic Committee and broadcast companions like NBC choose. Concerns over warmth hazard were raised in 2013 when the metropolis was awarded the 2020 Summer Games.

Tokyo vowed to put in all types of cooling measures, from the sensible to the whimsical.

The proposed marathon course was coated with a heat-reflecting materials in 2019, however the race was finally moved to Sapporo, about 500 miles away and often cooler than Tokyo. (On Monday, Sapporo was anticipated to succeed in 91 levels Fahrenheit.)

Other plans are being put into place, together with additional cooling tents, misting followers and ice-packed vests for officers. Some occasions can have air-conditioned lounges and ice baths accessible for athletes. Equestrian can have a shaded “horse cooling station.”

While heat-index screens will observe circumstances at the venues, it’s unclear what thresholds have to be reached to cease or postpone occasions.

One large fear for the previous few years has been defending a whole bunch of 1000’s of followers — a problem that was erased by the pandemic, as occasions will probably be contested in largely empty venues.

The forecast for the remainder of this week suggests no aid on the method.

Some occasions had been deliberately scheduled throughout cooler hours. The solar units round 7 p.m., and temperatures are inclined to fall in a single day to about 75 levels Fahrenheit. But with dawn effectively earlier than 5 a.m., temperatures sometimes rise rapidly in the morning.

Road cycling, for example, on a 151-mile course, will maintain its males’s occasion on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. native time, in the noon warmth.

Beach volleyball begins Saturday, too, with matches scheduled all day. The forecast: sizzling sand and ample concern.

As part of Toyota’s sponsorship of the Olympic Games, much of Tokyo’s taxi fleet was replaced with a sleek, new Toyota model.
Credit…Issei Kato/Reuters

Toyota stated on Monday that it has determined in opposition to operating Olympics-themed tv commercials in Japan, a symbolic vote of no confidence from considered one of the nation’s most influential corporations simply days earlier than the Games start amid a nationwide state of emergency.

The Japanese public has expressed robust opposition to the Games — delayed for a 12 months due to the pandemic — with many worrying that the inflow of holiday makers from round the world might flip it right into a Covid-19 superspreader occasion, undoing nationwide efforts to maintain coronavirus ranges low.

Toyota will chorus from airing tv adverts at residence throughout the Games and its chief govt, Akio Toyoda, won’t attend the opening ceremony, an organization spokesman informed native information media throughout a web-based information convention.

“Various aspects of this Olympics aren’t accepted by the public,” stated the spokesman, Jun Nakada, based on the enterprise each day Yomiuri Shimbun.

The adverts will nonetheless be proven in different markets, Toyota Motor North America stated in an announcement. “In the U.S., the campaign has already been shown nationally and will continue to be shown as planned with our media partners during the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the assertion stated.

The firm had ready adverts for the occasion however won’t air them due to issues that emphasizing its connection to the Games might create a backlash, based on an individual acquainted with the firm’s considering who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not approved to talk publicly.

Toyota will proceed its commitments to supporting Olympic athletes and offering transportation companies throughout the Games, a spokesman stated.

The overwhelming majority of the Japanese public is against holding the Games — set to start on Friday — beneath present circumstances, polling reveals, with many calling for them to be canceled outright.

Japanese authorities and Olympic officers have performed down the issues, saying that strict precautions in opposition to the coronavirus will permit the Games to be held safely.

Anxieties have continued to mount, nevertheless. Earlier this month, Tokyo entered its fourth state of emergency in an effort to cease a sudden rise in virus instances as the nation faces the extra contagious Delta variant. Cases, which stay low compared to many different developed nations, have mounted to greater than 1,000 a day in the metropolis, elevating apprehension that measures that had succeeded in controlling the unfold of the coronavirus might be dropping their effectiveness.

Further complicating the scenario is a gradual drip of stories stories about Olympic employees and athletes testing constructive for the sickness after arriving in Japan.

Toyota grew to become a prime Olympic sponsor in 2015, becoming a member of an elite class of company supporters that pay prime greenback for the unique proper to shows the iconic rings of the Games of their promoting.

Until the pandemic hit, the firm was considered one of the most seen supporters of the Olympics. In the run-up to the occasion, a lot of Tokyo’s taxi fleet was changed with a modern, new Toyota mannequin prominently that includes the firm’s brand alongside the Olympic rings. And the firm pledged to make the occasion a showcase for its technological improvements, together with self-driving autos to ferry athletes round the Olympic Village.

South Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choi Jong-kun, right, speaks with Koichi Aiboshi, the Japanese ambassador to South Korea, who was summoned to the meeting in a diplomatic squabble.
Credit…South Korean Foreign Ministry, through Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SEOUL — South Korea stated on Monday that its president, Moon Jae-in, won’t go to Tokyo throughout the Olympics, scrapping plans for his first-ever summit assembly with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan.

The determination got here days after a senior Japanese diplomat in Seoul was accused of creating a belittling remark in opposition to Mr. Moon. The diplomatic squabble was more likely to additional inflame relations, regardless of Washington’s hopes that its two most necessary allies in East Asia would overcome their historic disputes and work nearer collectively to counter North Korea and China.

The talks between Seoul and Tokyo to rearrange an Olympics summit assembly had made important progress, Seoul officers stated. But they unraveled after JTBC, a South Korean cable channel, reported on Friday that Hirohisa Soma, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, ridiculed Mr. Moon with a lewd remark throughout a gathering with considered one of its reporters.

Mr. Moon’s diplomatic overtures towards Japan are tantamount to “masturbating” as a result of Japan “does not have the time to care about bilateral relations as much as South Korea hopes,” Mr. Soma was quoted as saying.

Koichi Aiboshi, the Japanese ambassador to Seoul, stated Mr. Soma’s remark, though “inappropriate,” was not directed in opposition to Mr. Moon. During a daily press briefing in Tokyo on Monday, Katsunobu Kato, the chief cupboard secretary, additionally known as Mr. Soma’s comment “inappropriate” and “very regrettable.”

But the harm was carried out.

On Monday, Park Soo-hyun, a senior press secretary for Mr. Moon, stated the South Korean chief has determined to not go to Tokyo, contemplating “various circumstances.”

“We wish Japan a safe and successful Olympics,” Mr. Park stated. Under Mr. Moon, relations between the neighboring international locations have sunk to considered one of the lowest factors in current many years, as mutual animosity deepened over points rooted in Japan’s colonial rule of Korea from 1910 to 1945, reminiscent of “comfort women” intercourse slaves and wartime forced labor.

Mr. Moon’s canceled journey dashed hopes that the Tokyo Games would possibly provide the rivals a possibility for a contemporary begin.

“Seoul and Tokyo have put pride and domestic politics above the Biden administration’s appeals for strategic alignment,” stated Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of worldwide research at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. Even earlier than Mr. Soma’s remark, public opinion polls confirmed that almost all South Koreans didn’t need Mr. Moon to go to Tokyo.

South Korean athletes in the Olympic Village in Tokyo unfurled banners at their balconies this month that referred to a 16th-century warfare between Korea and Japan. Right-wing Japanese commentators took umbrage.

On Saturday, the South Korean Olympic committee stated it eliminated the banners, however not earlier than receiving a promise from the International Olympic Committee that the Japanese “rising sun” flag will probably be barred at Olympic venues. Koreans resent the flag, portraying a purple solar with rays extending outward, as a logo of Japan’s wartime aggression.

The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics released a statement saying that they had initially hoped to keep working with Keigo Omayada.
Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The composer of music for the Olympics opening and shutting ceremonies resigned on Monday after acknowledging that as a pupil he had bullied his disabled classmates.

Keigo Oyamada, 52, who makes use of the stage identify Cornelius, announced on Twitter that he had handed in his resignation to the Tokyo organizing committee simply 4 days earlier than he was to supervise music for the opening ceremony.

Shortly after the announcement, components of interviews he had given in the 1990s to a Japanese journal, wherein he described how he had abused classmates years earlier, surfaced on social media. The interviews quoted Mr. Oyamada saying that he had taunted youngsters with Down syndrome, stripped classmates bare and compelled them to masturbate.

With strain constructing and a petition calling for his resignation, Mr. Oyamada stated he had grown “keenly aware that I lacked consideration of many people when I accepted the offer to participate” in the Olympic ceremonies.

Last week, in a earlier statement issued on Twitter, Mr. Oyamada tried to diffuse rising criticism over the interviews with an apology. He stated many components of the articles “deviate from the truth.” But, he added, “there is no doubt that my classmates were hurt by my words and conduct.”

“I am deeply sorry for how my words and actions hurt my classmates and their parents,” he wrote. “I regret and take responsibility being in a position where I hurt others rather than being a friend during my school years.” He added that he had taken time to “reflect” and “reconsider.”

The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics launched an announcement saying that that they had accepted his resignation. Initially the organizers had stated that they hoped to maintain working with Mr. Oyamada, regardless of his “unacceptable” actions.

“In light of his sincere apology, we expressed a willingness to allow Mr. Oyamada to continue his work on preparations in the short time remaining before the Opening Ceremony,” the assertion stated. “However, we have come to believe that this decision was wrong, and we have decided to accept his resignation. We offer our deepest apologies for the offense and confusion caused to so many during this time.”

Mr. Oyamada is the third individual related to the organizing committee to step down after a scandal in current months.

In March, Yoshiro Mori, the former president of the Tokyo organizing committee, resigned after he suggested women talk too much in meetings, unleashing an anti-sexist firestorm.

The identical month, Hiroshi Sasaki, the unique inventive director of opening ceremonies, was pressured out after phrase leaked out that he had known as a well-liked comic and plus-size clothier, Naomi Watanabe, an “Olympig.” At the time, he was describing a task for her in the opening ceremonies wherein she would tumble from the sky decked out in pig ears.

The ceremony on Friday at the new Olympic stadium in Tokyo is more likely to be a diminished model of the unique plan, given coronavirus restrictions and the absence of spectators. Organizers are struggling to fight rising public anxiousness as extra athletes and Olympics personnel check constructive for the coronavirus.

A recyclable cardboard bed and a mattress are pictured in a residential unit for Olympic athletes.
Credit…Pool photograph by Akio Kon

Competitors arriving at the Tokyo Olympics have found one thing uncommon about the beds in the athletes’ village: They’re manufactured from cardboard.

Some have shared photographs on social media of the modular mattress frames, that are made by the Japanese firm Airweave and are recyclable. Organizers say it’s the first time that the beds at the Games will probably be made virtually solely out of renewable supplies.

But in the time of the coronavirus, when Olympic organizers anxious about transmission try to discourage shut contact as a lot as potential, the uncommon mattress frames have led some to recommend there’s one other motive behind them.

Paul Chelimo, an American distance runner, speculated on Twitter that the beds had been unable to help multiple individual and had been “aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes.” Soon the beds had been being labeled on social media as “anti-sex.”

Rhys McClenaghan, a gymnast from Ireland, known as the declare “fake news.” A video he posted on Twitter confirmed him leaping on his mattress to display that it might maintain up in opposition to vigorous exercise. The official Olympics Twitter account reposted Mr. McClenaghan’s video, including: “Thanks for debunking the myth.”

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