Why Suga is so determined to go ahead with the Tokyo Olympics

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At the lowest point in May, more than 80 per cent of the Japanese public wanted the upcoming Olympics cancelled or postponed, almost nobody in the country was vaccinated and medical experts were lining up to call the games an intolerable Covid-19 risk.

Despite the intense pressure on Tokyo 2020, Japan has not yet come close to cancelling the Olympics, according to government and organising committee officials. Instead, they have sought to run down the clock and build a sense of inevitability around the games.

That determination to go ahead has nothing to do with financial considerations, said analysts, but reflects instead a mixture of electoral politics, one-upmanship on China and practical calculation by Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s prime minister.

There are growing signs that Suga’s political judgment was correct. The percentage of the Japanese public wanting the…

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