NBC Opinion Piece Critical of Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay


New York, March 25 (Jiji Press)--U.S. broadcaster NBC, in an online edition on Thursday, posted an opinion piece harshly criticizing the torch relay for the Tokyo Olympic Games that started the same day amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Amid a pandemic, the Tokyo torch relay risks sacrificing public health on the altar of Olympic pageantry--a tradition established by the Nazis, no less,” Jules Boykoff, professor of Pacific University in Oregon and a former professional soccer player, said in the article. “Some traditions, especially those rooted in Nazi propaganda, should be extinguished.”

“The vaccine rollout in Japan has only inched forward, so the population will not be fully vaccinated when the Olympics begin” in July after a one-year postponement due to the pandemic, he said. “The Japanese public is understandably jittery.”

The torch relay started in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, one of the prefectures hit hardest by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear accident.

Boykoff said that although the Tokyo Games were originally branded the “Recovery Olympics” as a nod to the restoration of disaster areas, “many in the region actually blame the Tokyo Olympics for Fukushima’s slow recovery, with resources having been diverted from Fukushima to Tokyo to prepare for the games.”

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