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Japan Olympics Site

The Olympic contest site will take place at Tsurigasaki beach, 40 miles outside Tokyo. Image: Dane Gillett.


The Inertia

The Olympics are less than three months away, and only 1 percent of the population in Japan is vaccinated. Japan recently extended its state of emergency orders until the end of May as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, with a reported 6,000 new cases per day.

Despite the pandemic, the Japanese Prime Minister and the International Olympic Committee assured that the Tokyo Olympics will carry on as scheduled and will take proper safety precautions. No international spectators will be allowed and all participants are required to be vaccinated. 

This sparked controversy amongst Japanese citizens protesting for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled. An online petition gained 300,000 signatures to cancel the games and reallocate the money and resources to those in need of financial and medical support due to the pandemic. The games will require nurses and doctors to be on site, which will place a burden on an already strained medical system, according to those opposed. In addition, further frustration has arisen around prioritizing athletes for vaccines. 

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The surfing portion of the Olympics will take place in Tsurigasaki, a beach 40 miles outside of Tokyo. According to locals like Dane Gillett, who runs Splash Guest House, the vibe is mostly positive in the coastal town. Locals have already invested time and money into the event and want to see surfing’s Olympic debut in their hometown. 

“It’s not just a single event for us. It’s the start of much good, as the world will be able to see the wonderful place of Japan and people that live here. Twenty-five years ago we did not see foreigners, then after the Olympics were announced the numbers [of visitors] just kept increasing,” said a local restaurant and bar owner. “To see some joy in these tough times will make it worthwhile,” mentioned a local mother. 

 

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