Rebekkah Nyack is seen in an undated handout photo. Nyack, a basketball fan who is an undergraduate student at Temple University’s Japan campus, says she is worried about the spread of infection if the games go-ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Rebekkah Nyack, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Rebekkah Nyack is seen in an undated handout photo. Nyack, a basketball fan who is an undergraduate student at Temple University’s Japan campus, says she is worried about the spread of infection if the games go-ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Rebekkah Nyack, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Canadians in Japan say the Olympics should be cancelled

Lack of cheering fans, full stadiums and a festive atmosphere could cost event its spirit, some say

Canadian Jordan Dallaire-Gagné just wanted to be part of the largest sporting event in the world. Working or volunteering at the Tokyo Olympics was top of mind when the Montrealer moved to Japan a little over a year ago.

But Dallaire-Gagné said the Games should be cancelled as parts of the world face surging waves of COVID-19.

Dallaire-Gagné and several other Canadians living in Japan said sports are about camaraderie, cheering fans, full stadiums and a festive atmosphere that spills into the streets. Canadians in Japan were looking forward to cheering Team Canada in Tokyo.

The idea of mostly empty stadiums, devoid of foreign spectators, feels wrong, the Canadians said, adding the focus of the governments, not just in Japan but from countries sending their athletes, should simply be to get through COVID-19.

“I mean, it’s just the whole idea of participating,” Dallaire-Gagné said in an interview from Tokyo. “This is almost a once-in-a-lifetime event. I would have kept my ticket. I would say I was there.”

Calls to cancel the Olympics are growing. Anywhere from 60 to 80 per cent of Japanese residents in polls say it is their wish that the Games be cancelled.

The Olympics open on July 23 followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24.

Dallaire-Gagné said it’s hard to look at the part of the city that is supposed to house the athletes because it seems to lack a sense of light and life.

“It’s just like basically a part of town that could be used as a zombie apocalypse movie set,” he said. “They’re just there. It’s just so sad.”

A 6,000-member Tokyo Medical Practitioners’ Association has also called for the Olympics to be cancelled in a letter sent last week to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa, and Seiko Hashimoto, the head of the organizing committee.

The Olympics and Paralympics will involve 15,000 athletes entering Japan, which has had its borders virtually sealed for more than a year.

Rebekkah Nyack, an undergraduate student at Temple University’s Japan campus, said she is worried about the spread of infection if the games go-ahead.

“Tokyo is such a dense city with so many people,” said the Canmore, Alta. resident, who is studying international affairs.

“If there’s a large outbreak there’s a higher chance of me getting (COVID-19) and people in my community getting it.”

Between one and two per cent of Japanese residents are fully vaccinated, and it’s unlikely that even the elderly population will be fully vaccinated before the Olympics end on Aug. 8.

Fans from abroad have already been banned, and Olympic organizers are expected to announce next month if local fans can attend in limited numbers — or not at all.

Nyack said that even though the Games are a “fantastic” thing to happen every four years, it is far more important right now to keep people safe.

The idea of largely empty stadiums is disheartening, she said.

“The sense of community the sports bring — it’s an important part right?” she asked.

“So, if you don’t have that then what’s the point?”

Jared Parales said if the Olympics are held, tickets are affordable, social distancing measures are comfortable and all precautions are taken, he may go and watch the Canadian volleyball team.

The Calgarian, who lives in Tokyo, said he’s seen some sports events go ahead with cardboard figures filling seats, but added it’s not the same as having screaming and cheering fans.

Ideally, he said he wants to see the Games cancelled.

“For Olympics, a lot of people love it,” he said.

“And I love sports. I love the Olympics. I want to see it happen, but I want to see it happen right and not right now.”

— Hina Alam, The Canadian Press, with files from The Associated Press

RELATED: Head of Tokyo Olympics again says games will not be cancelled

RELATED: MPs demand relocation of 2022 Olympics due to China’s abuse of Uighurs

JapanOlympics

Just Posted

Sierra Acton, regional district director for Shawnigan Lake. (file photo)
New parkland in Shawnigan creating connections

Used to created parking for the popular Masons Beach Park

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: This could be the worst thing done to you during the pandemic

As a result, all of us will contend with more ‘scarcity’ thinking and mindset.

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read