The 2021 Tokyo Olympics appear to be ready to go, with the opening ceremony scheduled for July 23. NBC is putting on a happy face, saying record profits are expected for its 7,000 hours of coverage. Organizers announced that events will be allowed 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 10,000 fans — all of whom must be Japanese — barring an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Yet there is still a significant belief among many that the Tokyo Games simply shouldn’t be played when the pandemic is not over. Bob Costas expressed that very sentiment a few weeks ago on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. And on Sunday night, John Oliver made the same argument on the premium cable network’s Last Week Tonight.
“Only six percent of [Japan’s] current population is currently fully vaccinated,” Oliver explained. “And while I don’t know what the target percentage should be to safely host the Games, I’m pretty sure that right now it should be higher than the entries in the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise.”
Here’s the clip. Take a look for yourself:
Oliver then points out what’s become dishearteningly obvious: Money is the true reason why the International Olympic Committee is pushing the Tokyo Games forward with $15 billion (and probably much, much more) already spent on staging the event. And the host city contract dictates (via CBS News) that the IOC, not Japan, can ultimately decide whether or not the Olympics should be held.
Despite public protests and Japan’s Dr. Anthony Fauci equivalent, Dr. Shigeru Omi, saying that Olympic events should be held with no fans in attendance, the Tokyo Games are proceeding as scheduled.
“All of this is a pretty good reminder that hosting the Olympics is never a good idea for a city,” said Oliver, “and it’s not like Japan needs the Olympics to boost tourism. It’s Japan!”
As mentioned, Bob Costas has stated his belief that the Tokyo Olympics should be canceled. Here is a clip from his May 23 appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher: