THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
August 24, 2020 at 17:23 JST
Officials of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizers announce the schedule for the Paralympic Games on Aug. 3. Mitsuya Tanaka, a Japanese para-taekwondo athlete who qualified for the Games, also attended the news conference via videoconferencing. (Pool)
At least 20 percent of Japanese para-sports organizations are facing a cash crunch due to sponsors dropping out or reducing contributions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, an Asahi Shimbun survey found.
Athletes’ activities are likely to suffer as a result, some respondents said, while 30 percent expressed concerns that momentum toward making society more comfortable for those who have disabilities might lose steam.
The 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, postponed by a year due to the outbreak, is scheduled to start on Aug. 24, 2021. The Asahi Shimbun surveyed 26 para-sports organizations in the country that are involved in 22 sports to be held at the Games. All the organizations responded.
Seven organizations said the pandemic has hurt their revenues. The All Japan Taekwondo Association and the Japan Para-Cycling Federation said they have lost some sponsors and sponsorship fees.
The Japan Para Athletics revealed that several sponsor companies asked it to accept reduced sponsorship fees due partly to a decline in earnings following the outbreak.
Nine respondents said the “para-movement,” which aims to create an improved society through the Tokyo Paralympics, has “lost momentum” because of the outbreak.
Some respondents also called for simplifying the Games and ensuring thorough infection prevention measures.
The Japan Blind Judo Federation urged the central government, the International Paralympic Committee and other concerned parties to quickly hold discussions to set clear standards on which individuals Japan will allow entry to, given the varying degrees of response to the pandemic among nations.
The federation also said organizers should prepare single rooms for each athlete using hotels in the private sector instead of putting them in rooms that are, in principle, shared with other athletes in the athletes’ village.
The Japan Triathlon Union urged organizers to put the safety of athletes first by shortening the time that delegations from other countries will have to stay in Japan to as briefly as possible and by allowing athletes to attend the opening and closing ceremonies online.
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