Japan’s leading automaker is pulling out TV commercials for an event overshadowed by rising COVID infections and low public support.
Toyota, a sponsor of Tokyo 2020, will not post TV commercials related to the Olympics amid little public support for the Olympics, as two-thirds of Japanese organizers who doubt can keep games safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a local media survey.
Toyota Motor Corp. CEO Akio Toyoda and other executives will also not attend the opening ceremony, Toyota said Monday.
“It is true that Toyota will not attend the opening ceremony and the decision was made taking into account several factors, including non-spectators,” a spokesman said.
“We will not run any Games-related commercials in Japan,” he added.
Some 60 Japanese corporations that have paid more than $ 3 billion for sponsorship rights for the postponed 2020 Olympics now face a dilemma over whether or not to link their brands to an event that has so far failed to garner strong support. public.
Just four days before the opening ceremony in Tokyo, 68% of respondents in an Asahi newspaper poll expressed doubt about the ability of Olympic organizers to control coronavirus infections, and 55% said that they opposed the Games going on.
Three-quarters of the 1,444 people in the phone survey said they agreed with the decision to ban spectators from the events.
As cases of COVID-19 in Tokyo, now in its fourth state of emergency, increase, public concern has grown that hosting an event with tens of thousands of athletes, officials and journalists abroad it could speed up infection rates in the Japanese capital and introduce more infectious or deadly variants.
International Olympic Committee Chairman Thomas Bach has said he hopes the Japanese public will become fashionable at the Games once the competition begins and when Japanese athletes start winning medals. The Tokyo Olympics will run from July 23 to August 8.
“We will continue to cooperate and work closely with organizers such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 and the IOC to ensure that we have a safe and secure environment for the Games,” said government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato , in a regular briefing.
First case among athletes
Games officials on Sunday reported the first cases of COVID-19 among competitors in the Tokyo Athlete Village where 11,000 athletes are expected to be housed during the Games. Since July 2, Tokyo 2020 organizers have reported 58 positive cases among athletes, officers and journalists.
Any significant outbreak in the village could wreak havoc on the competitions because the infected or the isolators could not compete. Olympic officials and individual event organizers have contingency plans to deal with athletes ’infections.
A Tokyo 2020 spokesman said the village was a safe place to stay, adding that the infection rate among athletes and other Games-related people visiting Japan was nearly 0.1 percent.
On Sunday, six British track and field athletes along with two staff members were forced to isolate themselves after someone on their flight to Japan tested positive.
“Many athletes can hold parties or ceremonies before going to Tokyo where there may be joys or greetings. Therefore, they may also be at risk of becoming infected in their own country,” he told Reuters news agency. Koji Wada, a professor at Tokyo International University of Health and Welfare and advisor in the government’s coronavirus response.
The latest increase in cases in Tokyo comes after four previous waves, the deadliest of which was in January. New cases of COVID-19 in Tokyo reached 1,410 on Saturday, the highest figure since the beginning of the year, with new infections exceeding 1,000 for five days in a row.
Most of these new cases are among younger people, as Japan has managed to vaccinate the majority of its vulnerable elderly population with at least one shot, although only 32% of the population has received it so far.