Organizers have been at pains to stress there is no question of canceling or postponing Tokyo 2020 despite mounting fears over the potentially deadly virus spreading fast around the globe.
The International Olympic Committee has also said there is no need for a contingency plan to postpone, cancel or move Tokyo 2020, despite new cases of the deadly virus emerging daily in Japan.
“I can confirm Tokyo 2020 remains on track,” top IOC official John Coates said last week in Tokyo.
Tokyo 2020 CEO Yoshiro Mori has criticized “irresponsible rumors” about the Games.
One time I flew from the US to Japan when there was a Swine Flu outbreak in the US (in 2009). The local government where I lived tracked me down and called me every day for a week to ask about my condition. They take infectious disease seriously. It will be interesting though to see how they handle the Olympics if COVID-19 is the international pandemic it is likely to become.
I arrived back to Japan on Tuesday, just as the hub-bub over the swine flu was begin to intensify. As a matter of fact, Sunday night in the US I emailed my boss warning that the frenzy over the flu could impact my travel plans. I think he thought I was crazy. However, I kept checking the interwebs and the JAL home page to see if my travel would be impacted. At that time, the JAL web page just said that they were in contact with the appropriate authorities. I talked to Tomo and he said that planes were going to be delayed at Narita while health officials came onboard and screened the passengers. …
I arrived to Narita and, as predicted, we were delayed at the gate for medical officials to board and screen the passengers. It was very movie-like as people in yellow gowns, fancy masks, laboratory goggles, and rubber gloves came on board. We were given paperwork to fill out, and they walked through the plane pointing their thermal imager at people in search of fever. I guess it is fair, the flu has everyone concerned. It did seem over the top though, but totally expected in Japan. Things are not done halfway here.
As I was walking through Narita just after disembarking, I passed a photographer and a news crew. Fortunately no one decided to interview me. I made it the rest of the way home without trouble.
I live in Marunouchi, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi. Aichi-ken, Japan. That’s neighborhood, ward, city, prefecture, country. A very systematic way of classifying locations. If there are any crazy blogger stalkers out there, I guess I’ve increased my chance for detection through my “open kimono” description of my address. (As a side, is “open kimono” used commonly? It seems to be a popular phrase these days for full disclosure.)
Yesterday, at work, I got a phone call from a local number. It was the Naka-ku health office. Yes, I was getting a telephone call from the local health officials. I gave the phone to one of the translators (thus, infecting her too) to get a better idea of the purpose of the call. Initially, the officer starting asking about my health. The translator told me that I was going to get a call every day between 9:30 am and 10:00 am to check on my health. Do I have a fever? Runny nose? Headache? EVERY DAY UNTIL May 8. She was very adamant that I memorize the Japanese for these symptoms (which, in general, I already knew but just needed a reminder).
Interestingly, at work on Thursday, just before the Golden Week holiday, we got the news that anyone coming from the States has to wait two days after arriving in Japan before coming in to work at our site AND is expected to take their temperature on a daily basis for 10 days and refrain from coming to work if their temperature is greater than 38 deg C. I bought a thermometer on Thursday night but didn’t try to use it until this . I am happy to report that I am a very respectable 36.8 deg C.
Today during my morning phone call, I asked the official if they were only calling foreigners. I couldn’t quite tell but that seemed to be the case. I guess Japanese are responsible enough not to be called? Or maybe I misunderstood.
This is not the news I was expecting to have as a part of my blog, but it is where we are at right now.