Why Japan’s going ahead with Olympics

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Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has taken the final call. Even as the world reels under the second and third waves of the Covid-19 pandemic and a third of Japanese public opinion favours further postponement of the 2021 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, Suga is determined to host the Games in Tokyo next month.

In an unusual display of non-conformism, so uncharacteristic of Japanese official culture, Shigeru Omi, the government’s top advisor on Covid-19 publicly questioned the government’s decision to host the Games. Even until last weekend, Tokyo was under a state of emergency. Why then has Suga taken the plunge?

Hosting the Olympics has always been about national pride and prestige. For Suga, they would also seal his political fate at home with elections to the National Diet scheduled for October.

Apart from domestic politics, the shadow of global geopolitics has also always fallen on the Olympics. Japan first hosted the Games…

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