Tokyo awoke to a huge bill and soaring coronavirus cases on Monday after pulling off a mid-pandemic Olympics that at times looked impossible and had a mixed reception to the end.
Olympic officials have been predictably bullish, saying the Games offered hope and uplifting moments, and went off without any major coronavirus outbreaks.
“These Olympic Games have been a powerful demonstration of the unifying power of sport,” International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said at his closing press conference.
But it will take longer for Japan to reckon with a Games that were highly controversial and unfolded as virus cases exploded in Tokyo and elsewhere.
The Asahi Shimbun daily, which had called for cancellation despite being a sponsor of the Games, said the nearly $15 billion event was a “gamble” with people’s lives.
“This gamble went ahead, making the situation worse,” it said on Monday.
A poll conducted by the paper over the last two days of the Games found 56 percent of Japanese supported holding the event, with 32 percent opposed. Just 32 percent said they felt the Games were “safe and secure”, with 54 percent unconvinced.
Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics were unlike any other, starting with last year’s historic postponement that upturned years of planning for athletes.
Restrictions at the Games themselves meant masks for all, cheering for none, and fans banned from almost all venues for the first time.