W a national leader as conservative as Shinzo Abe was persuaded to come out of'a giant pipe in Rio dressed as the world's most famous plumber , it looked like Tokyo had already made plans to put on an Olympic Show like no other when its chance came four years later.
The coronavirus has not only forced the summer Olympics fallow season to be extended by 12 months; he's guaranteed that nothing as whimsical as a cosplay politician will reappear 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 century, but whatever happens going through the 68,000-seat main stadium in the Japanese capital on Friday night will be remembered for a long time for very different reasons.
This week Abe - a Tokyo 2020 loyal who recently described those calling for the Games to be canceled as " anti-Japanese "- said he would join the list dignitaries skipping the opening ceremony.
Media reported that the former prime minister deemed it inappropriate to attend when host city Tokyo was in the middle of an increase of coronavirus restrictions which forced organizers to ban domestic spectators from almost all Olympic events.
When successive opinion polls have showed a majority of Japanese opposites When holding the Games this summer, the government and Olympic officials only admitted that therehad "various opinions" on the wisdom of inviting tens of thousands of people to Tokyo during another pandemic wave.
Abe, however, joined several sponsors to publicly distance themselves from an opening ceremony that the Japanese public will be forced to watch on television.
Days before the ceremony, Toyota - a leading sponsor - said it remove Olympic-themed television shows in Japan during the Games, adding that its president, Akio Toyoda, would not be here on Friday.
Other last names of the company Japan quickly followed suit: NTT, NEC, Pa nasonic and Fujitsu, as well as the leaders of Keidanren, the most powerful business lobby in the country.
With the stadium banned to all except around 950 VIPs, including the First Lady of the States- United, Jill Biden, and French President Emmanuel Macron - coronavirus restrictions mean the only public gatherings will be in bars and restaurants that flout official demands from ban alcohol and close at 8pm, risking fines in the process.
Although the organizers refused to
Unlike the usual displays of mass choreography, giant props and bright lights, that would be 'sobering', but also concient of its history and culture.
"It will be a much more sober ceremony, nevertheless with a beautiful Japanese aesthetic. Very Japanese but also in tune with today's feeling, reality, ”said Balich. "We must do our best to complete these one-of-a-kind and hopefully one-of-a-kind Olympics.
The photographers who spied on the rehearsal Thursday night's general in the distance released footage of drone swarms forming planet Earth and spelling out the words of John Lennon's Imagine.
A reduced contingent of Dignitaries will watch a drastically reduced number of athletes line up behind their flag bearers. The GB team said only 30 of its 200+ athletes could be involved, with most taking all possible precautions against a positive diagnosis that would crush their Olympic dreams.
" It will be very meaningful, far from the grandeur of previous ceremonies, "said Balich. "The moment is now. It is a great effort. A very truthful and honest ceremony, nothing wrong. No smoke and mirrors. These will be real things happening today. "
The " real things "happening in Tokyo these last few days could prompt locals to find an alternative to live broadcasts for another Friday night under the capital's fourth coronavirus state of emergency.
That same week, two of the main creative minds behind the ceremony were forced of their roles - one for historical bullying, lAnother for a 1990s Holocaust joke - medical experts warned that in early August, Tokyo could see daily cases reach their highest level since the start of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, they reported 1,832 new cases, up nearly 700 from the same day yes the previous week. Japan's Chief Health Advisor Shigeru Omi said daily infections in the capital could "very well " double in the next fifteen weeks to a record high of nearly 3,000 by the end of the Games early August.
While they remain out of the state of emergency and wait for vaccines blocked by supply problems, the Japanese who have denied a close-up view of the show are far from being convinced by repeated assurances that the Olympics will be "safe and secure ". A poll carried out this week by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun revealed that 68% doubted the infections could be brought under control during the event, while 55% favored a cancellation by the 11th hour.
Fittingly, it will be up to the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito, to reflect the mood of the public and, perhaps, unite the country behind an unpopular Olympics he is said to have hosted doubts of its own .
Just as superstition dictates that speeches at Japanese weddings should omit words such as "separate " to avoid offending the bride and groom, Naruhito will refrain from describing Tokyo 2020 as a "celebration ", according to media reports. .
Asked when a skeptical audience begins to view the Games favorably, the The President of the International Olympic Committee , Thomas Bach, replied confidently: " When the Olympic flame shines in above Tokyo. "
Previous The Olympics had shown that nervousness before the show was "normal ", he added. and viewers around the world will receive confirmation that the Games of XX The XII Olympiad is a lot, but normal is not one of them.