Tokyo Olympics

80% Of Japanese Residents Oppose Hosting The Olympic Games Due To Covid-19 Concerns 

As Japan continues to battle a fourth wave of coronavirus infections, citizens are making their voices heard and telling authority figures that they don’t agree with hosting a worldwide event that will prompt individuals traveling from all over the world to one contained stadium location/ Olympic village. 

The latest survey comes just 10 weeks before the Games are projected to begin, Japan also recently expanded their coronavirus state of emergency to combat the fourth wave they’re currently enduring. 

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Medical professionals in Japan have repeatedly warned government officials that the healthcare industry is being overrun; not to mention the fact that healthcare workers are also getting sick which means there’s less professionals in the nation to help combat the new cases. 

Asahi Shimbun is the paper responsible for the survey, which found that 43% of the respondents want the Games to be totally cancelled, while 40% want it to be postponed again. The paper performed the same survey one month ago, and the most recent results show a 35% increase in those who want a postponement or complete cancellation. 

The poll surveyed a little more than 1,500 residents, of which only about 14% still supported the Games being held in Tokyo this summer. If the Games continue as planned, 59% of the respondents claim they want the event to enforce no spectators, while 33% said they would be okay with a limited capacity policy. 

Ever since it was announced that Tokyo rescheduled the 2020 Summer Olympic Games to this summer the citizens of Japan have been adamant about their disapproval, especially since the world is still battling the Covid-19 virus despite the rollout of multiple vaccines. 

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Kyodo News is a separate paper that also polled Japanese citizens, and they found that about 60% of all respondents want a complete cancellation of the Games; Kyodo News didn’t offer “postponement” as an option either. 

Olympic organizers have claimed multiple times that they’re taking all of the necessary anti-virus measures to protect all parties and athletes involved in the Games. However, the Kyodo poll found that about 88% of respondents worry that the presence of thousands of athletes and staff members from around the world will only further spread the virus and its multiple variants that now exist. 

Japan has seen a much smaller virus outbreak when compared to other countries, with only experiencing 115,000 deaths, however, the country is relatively smaller than the other nation’s that have experienced heavy waves of infections and death. 

The Kyodo Poll also found that 85% of respondents think the Japanese government’s rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has been slow, and 72% said they were unhappy with the government’s handling of the entire pandemic.

Culture Words

Obama Criticizes Cancel Culture

In keeping with the tradition of American presidents who have left office, former President Barack Obama has chosen to almost entirely avoid commenting on American politics, instead choosing to focus his time and energy on the Obama Foundation, a charitable organization that recently held its third annual summit. At this event, Obama spoke about a number of issues, but his comment that generated the most attention concerned “cancel culture,” or the widespread attitude of criticizing a person online who was caught engaging in improper behavior in an attempt to end their public presence. 

Though it is arguably now widespread, cancel culture is a phenomenon that has emerged only recently, in the wake of the hyper-awareness of people’s lives and the unprecedented speed of the spread of information afforded by social media. It is a fiercely controversial phenomenon, as some claim that it is an unfair form of mob justice whereas others posit that it enables just retribution when other aspects of the culture fail to appropriately punish bad behavior.

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Obama came out in favor of the former argument, characterizing the attitudes of people who engage in cancel culture as self-indulgent and unhelpful. “This idea of purity and you’re never compromised, and you’re always politically “woke,” he said, “you should get over that quickly.“ While not referring to the phenomenon by name, Obama made his thoughts on the matter clear, asserting that “the world is messy, there are ambiguities,” and that “people who do really good stuff have flaws.” From Obama’s point of view, the form of mob justice aimed at ending the careers of public figures through social media attacks is injudicious, as it doesn’t allow for nuance or mutual understanding. 

Obama implicitly compared cancel culture to “slacktivism,” a derogatory term describing people who purport to be activists but constrain their political speech and behavior to often-anonymous comments on the Internet, accomplishing nothing except engendering in themselves a sense of self-righteousness. Obama specifically called out young people on college campuses, whom he feels in recent years have normalized and encouraged attitudes of judgmentalism over forgiveness when they should instead be focused on trying to bring about more meaningful change. Obama may have been thinking of Justin Trudeau, whom he endorsed for Canadian Prime Minister despite revelations of Trudeau’s past wearing of blackface and brownface costumes.

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Though Obama didn’t specifically mention any examples of the phenomenon, stories of people affected by cancel culture have been widespread in recent years. Most recently, Ellen DeGeneres had to defend her decision to sit next to former President George W. Bush at a baseball game, explaining that despite their political difference, she considered Bush a close friend, and adding that becoming friends with people you disagree with is essential, particularly in the current hyper-partisan political landscape. Non-celebrities are also prone to being punished by cancel culture; for instance, a school security guard was recently fired for telling a student not to call him the n-word, in a case that was widely considered to be the result of an excessively strict zero-tolerance policy that fails to take into account context, even when that context is exculpatory.

Other celebrities have also come out against cancel culture. Dave Chapelle, a comedian famous for his unapologetic takes on social commentary and political issues, took Obama’s side in the debate, asserting that “the First Amendment is first for a reason,” and stating that he doesn’t get mad at comedians whom he knows to be racist. Taylor Swift has also complained about cancel culture; during an interview with Vogue, the singer who herself has been a target of cancel culture described the experience as “isolating,” adding that she doesn’t “think there are that many people who can actually understand what it’s like to have millions of people hate you very loudly.”