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Why Tokyo Turned Against the Olympics

Updated: Sep 7




Below is an excerpt from an article I wrote for The Nation. See the full text here.


"My neighbor and others I’ve chatted with in Tokyo over the past few months often feel powerless in the face of this large event descending upon our city, an event that will largely be a media event curated for a television audience, since the only local spectators will be dignitaries.. We share our fears that we will be at the center of a great experiment at a dangerous new phase of the pandemic. Because Covid has been framed as an “outside threat” to Japan, there is also the risk that a disastrous Olympics will deepen xenophobia in Japan. Throughout the pandemic, Japan has had some of the strictest border closures, which at times even excluded current visa holders, long-term residents of Japan, and non-Japanese spouses of Japanese citizens. Now we have thousands of visitors pouring in from abroad into what seems to be a porous “bubble,” under incredible media scrutiny. The whole situation seems manufactured to maximize misunderstandings."


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