First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Japan Official Opens Door to Canceling Olympics on Viru...



Japan Official Opens Door to Canceling Olympics on Virus Surge

Illuminated Olympic rings float in the waters off Odaiba island in Tokyo on April 1. Photographer: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg
By Bloomberg
15 Apr 2021 0

(Bloomberg) --A senior official in Japan’s ruling party indicated canceling the Tokyo Olympics was an option as the country struggles with a surge in coronavirus cases less than 100 days before the Games are due to begin.

By Gearoid Reidy and Isabel Reynolds
Apr 15, 2021, 5:32 AM – Updated on Apr 15, 2021, 10:00 AM
Word Count: 529

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, said that if it was determined to be impossible to hold the Olympics, they would have to be canceled, in an interview with TV broadcaster TBS released Thursday.

“What would be the point of an Olympics that spread the infection?” Nikai added. Nikai is a veteran political broker whose support for Yoshihide Suga was crucial to him becoming prime minister last year.

Earlier Thursday, Taro Kono, Japan’s vaccine czar and administrative reform minister, signaled the possibility of holding the Olympics without spectators, according to Kyodo News.

Japan has stepped up virus prevention measures in six regions including Tokyo and Osaka. Osaka has seen record case numbers this month, while the capital recorded 729 cases Thursday, the highest level in more than two months. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she would consider asking the government to declare a state of emergency if the current restrictions fail to slow the spread.

Japan wants to press ahead with preparations for the Olympics, top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told reporters Thursday.

Osaka’s New Virus Cases to Top 1,000 Tuesday, Governor Says

Since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed when the pandemic broke out, Suga has repeatedly expressed determination to press ahead with the event scheduled to start July 23, flagging it as an opportunity to prove the human race has defeated the virus.

Nikai echoed these sentiments in the interview, saying the Olympics were a big opportunity for Japan, and problems in staging the event should be resolved one by one to make it a success. He later issued a statement saying he wanted the event to go well, adding it was up to officials managing the Olympics to make decisions about the Games, Kyodo News said.

But his comments on a taboo topic come as Suga prepares to fly to the U.S. to meet President Joe Biden, whose continued support will be key to keeping the plans on track.

Disputes have broken out over various aspects of the planning, including whether athletes should be given priority access to vaccines when elderly and vulnerable people have yet to be immunized. Japan has so far managed to administer only about two million doses of the vaccine to its population of 126 million people.

Why the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Will Be Like No Other: QuickTake

Overseas fans have already been excluded from the event, and officials have indicated venues may operate at half capacity. Even so, a large number of people will still converge on Tokyo. More than 60,000 athletes, coaches, national team staff, media and other essential workers are expected to travel from more than 200 countries.

Polls show most of the Japanese public don’t want the Olympics to go ahead this summer. A survey conducted April 10-11 by the Asahi newspaper found 35% of respondents said the sports spectacle should be canceled, while 34% said it should be postponed again.

(Updates with virus cases in fifth paragraph.)
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted