Along the waterfront of Tokyo Bay, a seemingly endless white wall blocks the sight of the Olympic rings.
The government has set up such roadblocks and fences around venues related to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to isolate athletes and prevent the public from gathering in venues across the city.
After all, Tokyo is in a state of emergency.
For months, organizers, athletes, media, and government officials have stated that the Olympic Games starting on Friday will be different, focusing on those involved in the coronavirus pandemic that will push the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 to 2021. Health and safety.
Therefore, the iconic lens of the Olympic rings is behind the wall. The new venues are all behind the fence. During the Olympics, highway tolls in the Greater Tokyo area increased by 1,000 yen (approximately 11 Canadian dollars) between 6 am and 10 pm to prevent people from getting on the road.
‘Let them end’
“Let them pass,” a Tokyo driver told CBC.
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This sums up the sentiments of a country that rejoiced in winning the 2020 Olympics eight years ago.
Poll for the past year It has been shown that the vast majority of Japanese want the Olympics to be cancelled or postponed.
On Monday, Toyota, one of the biggest sponsors of the International Olympic Committee, said it would not broadcast TV commercials related to the Olympics in Japan. Its executives will not participate in the opening ceremony.
Eight years ago, no one could have expected this unprecedented situation. Although health officials have repeatedly warned against thinking this way, the organizers have made great efforts to achieve this goal.
Airport 10 hours
This week, when I arrived at Tokyo Airport with a CBC staff member, I observed for a few hours as the staff and volunteers were exhausted running around, trying to keep up with the waves of people participating in the Olympics.
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More than 80,000 athletes, officials, support personnel, media and IOC VIP guests will come to Tokyo.
Some Chinese athletes arrived wearing full pandemic protective gear.
The Olympics are restricted at their best. Activities are limited to hotels, venues and short face-to-face interviews with athletes. A pandemic, it reached a completely different level.
Here are the things I have to do as a member of the media to board the plane so that I can bypass the other mandatory and stricter 14-day quarantine that returning locals must comply with??:
Two PCR COVID-19 tests were negative before departure. A detailed 14-day event plan approved by the Tokyo Organizing Committee showed my daily activities in the first two weeks in intricate details. I must also download the COVID-19 tracking app and enter my personal data and my location in Tokyo.
It took nearly 10 hours to pass various checks at the airport. At some point, officials will check our PCR tests. Then we walked along the corridor to another checkpoint, where officials would check the same documents.
Then we arrived at a saliva testing checkpoint, spit in the tube, and waited for more than two hours to get the results. No one in our group can move until everyone on the plane passes a negative test and is cleared-this wait is more complicated due to the fact that arriving athletes and Japanese residents have priority over access to the media.
Finally, a bus took us from the airport to the taxi hub in the city center. Then we all took a separate taxi to the hotel.
After twenty-nine hours of travel, it’s time to sleep.
For the next 14 days, I will be restricted to walking on the streets of Tokyo. I will take the media shuttle bus from the hotel to the Olympic venues. Rinse and repeat. My actions can be tracked through the COVID app.
The 7-11 convenience store in the hotel has great egg salad sandwiches and mayonnaise-flavored potato chips. That might be my dinner.
There were no fans at the event, and there were no celebrations on the streets of Tokyo.
In just 16 days of activity, I hope that athletes who have worked their entire lives for this moment will not test positive.
As the saying goes, let the game begin.
But this time, in this country, many people can’t wait for them to end.