Tokyo Summer Olympics: Should They Take Place?

John Oliver Questions Decision to Proceed With Tokyo Summer Olympics

The ‘Last Week Tonight’ host said financial factors are a primary motivation but made a case that it’s too soon to safely hold the event, which was postponed from last summer due the pandemic.


John Oliver questioned the decision to go forward with the Summer Olympic Games on his Sunday’s edition of the HBO show, Last Week Tonight.

“Despite the fact that the pandemic is very still much not over, the Games seem to be going ahead, and not everyone in Japan is thrilled about that,” Oliver said, then showing news footage of protestors and Shigeru Omi, “Japan’s version of Dr. Fauci,” saying “the situation is not normal.”

The problem? Japan has a daily COVID-19 death rate higher than when the Games were canceled last summer as well as a slow vaccine rollout, with only six percent of Japan’s population only fully vaccinated at this point.

“While I don’t know what the target percentage should be to safely host the Olympics, I’m pretty sure that right now it should be higher than the number of entries in the Fast and the Furious franchise,” he quipped.

John Oliver

Oliver said organizers seem to be basing their decision in large part on financial considerations, with Japan having already spent $15.4 billion on the Games, though government audits imply that it’s actually twice that much.

Yet, according to a CBS News report, Tokyo has no authority to cancel the Games — only the International Olympic Committee has the actual power to make such a decision.

Oliver noted that several guidelines have been put into place, though he noted that condoms are still being handed out to the athletes in Olympic Village, though they will be encouraged to wait until they get home to use them. As he noted, the condom industry in Japan has been hoping to use the Games as a publicity tool to show off their high-tech prophylactics.

“Hosting the Olympics is never a good idea for a city. And it’s not like Japan needs the Olympics to boost tourism,” Oliver said.

He continued: “While I truly hope for everyone’s benefit that this works out, you can’t help feeling that the main motivator in this even taking place is money. So, will it be worth it?”