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Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics Could Be Off? Good.

TOKYO, JAPAN - JANUARY 22: A woman and a man wearing a face mask view the Olympic Rings on January 22, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. With just six months to go until the start of the Games, it has been reported that the Japanese authorities have privately concluded that the Olympics could not proceed due to the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Spokesmen from the IOC and Japanese government have since rejected the report. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Carl Court/Getty Images

According to the Times of London, the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, already delayed a year by COVID-19, are on the verge of being abandoned altogether because of growing governmental fears that inviting the world means inviting the virus. The stumbling block, according to the report, is that the Japanese don’t want to lose face by announcing it can’t hold the games safely, but are willing to wait until 2032 to get some use out of their buildings.

Lose face? They’re worried about losing face? Do they have some version of Donald Trump we don’t know about? Well, here’s a solution for those troubled government ministers, and a sentence that will resonate equally well with the IOC and with the Japanese people, 80 percent of whom do not want the Games to happen this summer, according to polls:

“Because we’re not those idiots in America.” 

That should make everyone in Japan and Switzerland nod in sober yet unanimous agreement. The U.S. is a useful nation that way. The world’s example of what not to do.

There have been 98,000,000 cases of the disease according to the current global count, with 2.1 million deaths. The second spike of the disease has been particularly aggressive, with Japan this week closing its borders to foreign nationals and declaring a state of emergency in its largest cities. The Japanese don’t need to worry about losing face. Inviting thousands of people to take part in a party you are throwing and then infecting them would be losing face. Fighting a disease American-style, by pretending it doesn’t exist, would be losing face. Even with regime change in Washington that allows for the possibility that malevolent stupidity isn’t forever, the months of wasteful ignorance and ignorant waste mean we best serve the other nations of the world as a worst-case scenario.

The Times report has been strenuously denied by the organizing committee and the IOC, but the solution for the Japanese as they fret about their global image is easy. Give up on 2021, try to get put back on the schedule later, after Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028, or maybe try to have an off-year Summer Olympics somewhere in there. The virus has shown that schedules don’t matter, and those who try to apply them before a global vaccine can be distributed are doomed to fail. Science wins again.

And if someone wants to make a thing of it, the members of the Japanese government can simply announce, “We talked to scientists and they told us not to do it. We listen to smart people here. Oh, and vote for me.” That’ll save all the face a politician needs.

Well, any politician who doesn’t work here.