Just days out from the opening ceremony of one of the more controversial Olympic games in recent history, Toyota has announced that it will be pulling all of its tv spots from running in Japan.
The Japanese auto giant’s CEO, Akio Toyoda, also stated that he would not be attending the ceremony. Traditionally over-the-top in pageantry and backed by a sea of endless smiles and a wall of fireworks, it remains difficult to see how this year’s kick-off could be overly joyful in the least.
The blow to the event comes as a shock due to the timing, yet can’t be entirely unforeseen by industry insiders as a staggering 83% of the Japanese public remains opposed to the games due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The spectacle had been scheduled to proceed with 50% fan capacity, yet as Covid-19 rates have continued to rise the organizers announced earlier this month that spectators would be banned entirely.
Many both in Japan and around the world are fearful that the games, which have already been delayed a year, could easily slip into catastrophe, becoming an international superspreader.
Droga5 founder, David Droga said the decision by Toyota is “a big body blow to the Olympics.”
“You’d think that Toyota would be through thick and thin all in, but obviously the situation is more polarizing than we realize,” he added.