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Olympic sponsors have called for the Tokyo Games to be postponed to allow more spectators


Some of Japan’s biggest sponsors of the Tokyo Olympics want organizers to postpone the Games for several months to allow more spectators to attend.

The proposal was made privately over recent weeks, according to people familiar with the situation. The demand comes on the heels of growing frustration among some of the 47 Japanese companies that have collectively paid more than $3 billion to support the games, making them most caring A sporting event in history.

“I don’t think this proposal will affect the organizers too much because they seem quite determined to do so Starts on July 24Said a senior executive of one of the supporting companies.

“But it makes a lot more sense from our point of view to hold the Games when there are more people vaccinated, the weather is cooler and there may be less public opposition.”

The spread of Covid-19 and the slow roll out of vaccines have frustrated the public, with polls showing that as many as 80 per cent of Japanese want the Olympics to be canceled or postponed.

The total number of people who received at least one vaccination syringe In Japan it exceeded 14 million, or 11 percent of the population.

The Japanese Olympic Committee notified sponsors in April that the pivotal decision on allowing viewers to watch events live would not be made until the last possible moment, possibly on June 24.

Many companies have set up big marketing campaigns around ticket giveaways and promotions at venues. Banks, brokerages, insurance companies, and other major industrial sponsors planned to use the events to entertain businesses.

Two people who attended the meeting said some companies had decided the money spent on sponsoring the Olympics was effectively “worthless”, but that the postponement would allow them to reclaim some value if it allowed spectators and greater movement around venues.

Suggestions have been made for a last-minute postponement until late September or October as preparations for the games enter the last 50 days.

A senior executive at one of the sponsors said the postponement proposal came with practical benefit. He said the company would not commit any additional funds to the project but would consider paying additional sponsorship fees if the Olympics were held later in the year.

“If the Games start after a few months, a much larger part of the country will be vaccinated, there will be less uncertainty and we will definitely consider putting in more money as sponsors,” he said.

He added that there was an internal discussion within his company about the risks of associating its brand with an event that Shigeru Ohmi, the doctor leading Japan’s COVID response, said this week was “unnatural” in the current environment.

Another head of a Japanese company who backed Tokyo’s bid to host the Games said: “Japan must do its best so that the Olympics can be held on schedule and the government must speed up the rollout of vaccines. But Plan B must also be prepared for two to three months.”

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The business community is sharply divided over whether the country should host the Olympics. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of e-commerce group Rakuten, are among the most vocal opponents.

But even among the sponsors, the companies were put in an awkward position with strong public opposition making it difficult for them to promote the event.

Akio Toyoda, CEO of World Olympic Games sponsor Toyota, expressed frustration on Thursday at the slow progress in controlling Covid-19 Japan.

This is a serious emergency. . . Toyoda said. “The truth is we are still in a period of anxiety and dissatisfaction.”

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