Pandemic and flagging support to make Tokyo Olympics opener a show like no other

Pandemic and flagging support to make Tokyo Olympics opener a show like no other

When a national leader as conservative as Shinzo Abe was persuaded to emerge from a giant pipe in Rio dressed as the world’s most famous plumber, it felt like Tokyo had already hatched plans to put on an Olympic show like no other when its chance came four years later. The coronavirus not only forced the summer Olympics’ fallow season to be extended by 12 months; it has guaranteed that nothing as whimsical as a cosplaying politician will be making a reappearance at the official start of the Tokyo 2020 Games. The London 2012 opening ceremony has been touted as the “most popular” precursor to the Games over the past quarter of a century, but whatever transpires inside the 68,000-seat main stadium in the Japanese capital on Friday evening will live long in the memory for very different reasons. This week Abe – a Tokyo 2020 stalwart who recently described those calling for the Games to be cancelled as “anti-Japanese” – said he would join the list of dignitaries skipping the opening ceremony. Media reports said the former prime minister …
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