Alongside the Tokyo Bay seafront, there is a seemingly infinite white wall blocking a view of the Olympic rings.
The federal government has put up such barricades and fences round venues associated to Tokyo 2020 to maintain the athletes remoted and to forestall the general public from gathering at venues all through the town.
Tokyo is, in any case, in a state of emergency.
For months, organizers, athletes, media and authorities officers have stated these Olympics, which start Friday, are going to be completely different, targeted on the well being and security of these concerned amid the coronavirus pandemic that pushed Tokyo 2020 into 2021.
So, the long-lasting shot of the Olympic rings is behind a wall. The brand new venues are behind fences. Freeway tolls within the Larger Tokyo Space have gone up by 1,000 yen (about $11 Cdn) between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. through the Video games in an try and maintain folks off the roads.
‘Simply get them over with’
“Simply get them over with,” one Tokyo driver advised CBC.
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That sums up the temper in a rustic that eight years in the past rejoiced at profitable the 2020 Olympic bid.
has proven that the overwhelming majority of individuals in Japan want the Video games had been cancelled or postponed.
On Monday, one of many Worldwide Olympic Committee’s high sponsors, Toyota, stated it will not run Olympics-related TV commercials in Japan. And its high executives won’t be attending the opening ceremony.
Eight years in the past, no one might have predicted this unprecedented scenario. There was a Herculean effort by organizers to drag this off regardless of relentless warnings from well being officers to suppose in any other case.
10 hours on the airport
After I arrived on the Tokyo airport this week with one of many CBC crews protecting the Video games, I watched for hours as workers and volunteers ran round exhaustedly making an attempt to maintain up with wave after wave of individuals exhibiting up for the Olympics.
WATCH | COVID-19 fears rise as Tokyo Olympics nearing:
Upward of 80,000 athletes, officers, help workers, media and Worldwide Olympic Committee dignitaries are coming to Tokyo.
Among the Chinese language athletes arrived sporting full pandemic protecting gear.
Olympics are restricted at the most effective of instances. Motion is restricted to resorts, venues and quick in-person interviews with the athletes. Throw in a pandemic, and it is hit a totally completely different stage.
Here is what I, as a member of the media, needed to just do to get on the flight and so I might bypass the in any other case necessary, extra restrictive 14-day quarantine to which returning locals are topic:
Two detrimental PCR COVID-19 assessments earlier than departure. An in depth 14-day exercise plan authorised by the Tokyo organizing committee exhibiting, in intricate element, my every day actions for the primary two weeks. I additionally needed to obtain a COVID-19 monitoring app and enter my private knowledge and places the place I can be in Tokyo.
It took practically 10 hours to get by the varied checks on the airport. At one level, officers would examine our PCR assessments. Then we might transfer down the hallway to a different checkpoint, the place officers would look over the identical paperwork.
Then we reached a saliva take a look at checkpoint, spat in a tube and waited for greater than two hours to get the outcomes. Nobody in our group was in a position to transfer till each one that was on the flight was cleared with a detrimental take a look at — a wait compounded by the truth that arriving athletes and Japanese residents are prioritized over visiting media.
Lastly, a big, packed bus took us from the airport to a downtown taxi hub. All of us then took particular person taxis to the lodge.
Twenty-nine hours of journey later it was time to sleep.
For the subsequent 14 days, I will be restricted from strolling the streets of Tokyo. I am going to go from the lodge to the media shuttle to the Olympic venues. Rinse and repeat. My actions will be tracked by the COVID app.
The 7-Eleven retailer contained in the lodge has nice egg salad sandwiches and mayonnaise-flavoured potato chips. That may turn into my nightly dinner.
There are not any followers allowed on the occasions, no celebrations on the streets of Tokyo.
Simply 16 days of white-knuckling by occasions hoping the athletes, who’ve labored a lifetime for this second, do not take a look at optimistic.
Let the Video games start, because the saying goes.
However this time, on this nation, many cannot look ahead to them to finish.