On the eve of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, the government’s attempts to control the tide of coronavirus by directing drinkers are drowning in alcohol, frustration and indifference.
Japan has demanded that city restaurants and bars be closed for up to 20 hours, if not entirely, to prevent people from interacting closely with strangers and spreading the virus, but the state of emergency has not deterred much. Instead, drinkers roamed the outdoors, and many bars in Tokyo’s famous nightlife districts are teeming with challenging customers.
“No one is convinced when (the government) is a victim of people who drink alcohol without showing credible scientific evidence, even while continuing with the Olympics,” said Mio Maruyama, a 28-year-old real estate employee who spoke. with colleagues on the street in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.
She says she’s interested in watching the games, especially new sports like skateboarding and NBA star Ruchi Hachimura, “but when I think about how politicians play with it, I don’t take root in this event.” ”
“It’s not that we’re breaking the rules just because we oppose the discrepancy between the words and actions of politicians,” she said, referring to a 40-member reception for members of the International Olympic Committee on Sunday, including the prime minister and governor of Tokyo. “But when you see things like that, you might think the offenders have done what they do.”
The IOC’s reception came at a time when the public was banned from attending parties or even attending most Olympic events. Many Japanese are disappointed with this contrast, but hardly stay at home.
Around 9:30 pm in Shinjuku, people crossed in front of the busiest train terminal in the world. Nighttime activity was moderate compared to before the pandemic, but bar districts like Kabukicho were still lit by neon lights from several eateries that were still open after 8 p.m.
Freed from the emergency mandate, 24/7 open stores were occupied with shoppers. Near one of the shops, some drinkers were talking to city workers wearing green vests of the Tokyo metropolitan government, begging people to refrain from drinking and chatting outside.
On a quiet street east of Shinjuku, Naoto Suga picked up a can of lemon alcohol his friend had just brought him. They sat on the curb, along with about a dozen others who also drank in the street.
“We’ve been here every night for the last three days or so,” said Suga, 25, who works at a nearby clothing store.
“I don’t think the Olympics themselves did that (the situation), but even before the games, things like the state of emergency are half a measure
I think that makes things worse, “he said. “Everyone is used to the state of emergency, so it’s less important now.”
Suga, who has not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, also complained of a slower spread in Japan, especially for younger people. Everyone over the age of 12 can be vaccinated, but the younger ones are last in line. So far, only 22% of Japan’s population is fully vaccinated.
“To be honest, I’m hosting the Olympics; it is better not to do it, given the debt of the buildings that are held on site, “he said. “But I don’t have a specific sport that I want to watch. I lost interest. “