'Powerless And Angry': Japan's Anti-Olympic Activists Fight On
Zeeshan Mehtab 2 months ago Mon 02nd August 2021 | 10:50 AM
Tokyo, Aug 2 (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 2nd Aug, 2021 ) :Kai Koyama was standing outside Tokyo's Olympic Stadium as fireworks burst overhead during the opening ceremony but unlike many of those around him he wasn't cheering, but protesting.
But since the opening ceremony, sentiment seems to have softened.
Japanese athletes have won a record number of gold medals and shops selling Games merchandise have reported a surge in sales.
None of that sways Koyama and other long-time opponents of the Games, who continue to stage demonstrations, even if they tend to draw just a few dozen people.
"I'm so angry," the painter, in his 40s, told AFP.
"We are in an emergency situation... people are dying every day, but the Olympic Games are still going on." Tokyo 2020 is being held under strict anti-virus rules, with spectators banned from most competition venues.
But Koyama argues that holding the event sends the wrong message and encourages people to flout restrictions and risk infection.
Exhibits include the clay sculpture "Ruins", in which Olympic rings, an olive-leaf wreath and a hand are covered by pale sand.
"There are athletes who perform with great skill, and people who enjoy watching, and I think that's a wonderful thing. But I feel people take the threat of the coronavirus too lightly," artist Sachiko Kawamura told AFP.
Kawamura argues "the way money is spent (on the Games) is wrong".
He struggled to understand why the country was competing for the competition in the International Olympic Committee vote in 2013 when it was still reeling from a 2011 tsunami that left more than 18,000 people dead or missing and triggered a nuclear disaster.
"I wondered why they were pouring energy into something like the Olympics even after our worst-ever disaster," Sakuragawa told AFP.
Only a handful of Olympic events are happening in the affected area, many without spectators.
And Sakuragawa said he was trying to avoid Games coverage even though he enjoys watching sport.
"But whichever TV channel I turn on has them, so I'm kind of forced to watch."