Rebekkah Nyack is seen in an undated handout photo. Nyack, a basketball fan who is an undergraduate student at Temple University’s Japan campus, says she is worried about the spread of infection if the games go-ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Rebekkah Nyack, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Rebekkah Nyack is seen in an undated handout photo. Nyack, a basketball fan who is an undergraduate student at Temple University’s Japan campus, says she is worried about the spread of infection if the games go-ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Rebekkah Nyack, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Canadians in Japan say the Olympics should be cancelled

Lack of cheering fans, full stadiums and a festive atmosphere could cost event its spirit, some say

Canadian Jordan Dallaire-Gagné just wanted to be part of the largest sporting event in the world. Working or volunteering at the Tokyo Olympics was top of mind when the Montrealer moved to Japan a little over a year ago.

But Dallaire-Gagné said the Games should be cancelled as parts of the world face surging waves of COVID-19.

Dallaire-Gagné and several other Canadians living in Japan said sports are about camaraderie, cheering fans, full stadiums and a festive atmosphere that spills into the streets. Canadians in Japan were looking forward to cheering Team Canada in Tokyo.

The idea of mostly empty stadiums, devoid of foreign spectators, feels wrong, the Canadians said, adding the focus of the governments, not just in Japan but from countries sending their athletes, should simply be to get through COVID-19.

“I mean, it’s just the whole idea of participating,” Dallaire-Gagné said in an interview from Tokyo. “This is almost a once-in-a-lifetime event. I would have kept my ticket. I would say I was there.”

Calls to cancel the Olympics are growing. Anywhere from 60 to 80 per cent of Japanese residents in polls say it is their wish that the Games be cancelled.

The Olympics open on July 23 followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24.

Dallaire-Gagné said it’s hard to look at the part of the city that is supposed to house the athletes because it seems to lack a sense of light and life.

“It’s just like basically a part of town that could be used as a zombie apocalypse movie set,” he said. “They’re just there. It’s just so sad.”

A 6,000-member Tokyo Medical Practitioners’ Association has also called for the Olympics to be cancelled in a letter sent last week to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa, and Seiko Hashimoto, the head of the organizing committee.

The Olympics and Paralympics will involve 15,000 athletes entering Japan, which has had its borders virtually sealed for more than a year.

Rebekkah Nyack, an undergraduate student at Temple University’s Japan campus, said she is worried about the spread of infection if the games go-ahead.

“Tokyo is such a dense city with so many people,” said the Canmore, Alta. resident, who is studying international affairs.

“If there’s a large outbreak there’s a higher chance of me getting (COVID-19) and people in my community getting it.”

Between one and two per cent of Japanese residents are fully vaccinated, and it’s unlikely that even the elderly population will be fully vaccinated before the Olympics end on Aug. 8.

Fans from abroad have already been banned, and Olympic organizers are expected to announce next month if local fans can attend in limited numbers — or not at all.

Nyack said that even though the Games are a “fantastic” thing to happen every four years, it is far more important right now to keep people safe.

The idea of largely empty stadiums is disheartening, she said.

“The sense of community the sports bring — it’s an important part right?” she asked.

“So, if you don’t have that then what’s the point?”

Jared Parales said if the Olympics are held, tickets are affordable, social distancing measures are comfortable and all precautions are taken, he may go and watch the Canadian volleyball team.

The Calgarian, who lives in Tokyo, said he’s seen some sports events go ahead with cardboard figures filling seats, but added it’s not the same as having screaming and cheering fans.

Ideally, he said he wants to see the Games cancelled.

“For Olympics, a lot of people love it,” he said.

“And I love sports. I love the Olympics. I want to see it happen, but I want to see it happen right and not right now.”

— Hina Alam, The Canadian Press, with files from The Associated Press

RELATED: Head of Tokyo Olympics again says games will not be cancelled

RELATED: MPs demand relocation of 2022 Olympics due to China’s abuse of Uighurs

JapanOlympics

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read