Header image is a graphic obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

Japan (MNN) — Playbooks released yesterday introduce new COVID-19 restrictions and requirements ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The guidelines limit participants’ movement and require more testing.

Japan’s government declared the third state of emergency last week due to rising COVID-19 infections. The decision comes as Tokyo locals prepare to host the 32nd Olympic Games in three short months.

Poster from Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)“The government would like to quickly eliminate the rapid increase [of new cases] with new strands of viruses. While Japanese [are] getting ready for vaccinations of the people, we are quite behind,” Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access says.

“We didn’t come up with vaccines of our own, so we depend on U.S. production. Different simulations have been done, and we probably will not be able to finish vaccinating people over 65 before the Olympics are supposed to start.”

Local opinions about this global event fall into thirds. “We have several different polls among general citizens about the Tokyo Olympics. One-third of Japanese people are thinking, ‘Let’s postpone one more year until we have some control over this pandemic,’” Takazawa says.

“Another one-third is saying, ‘Let’s cancel; this is not going to work. We can’t control this.’ Another one-third is [saying], ‘Let’s go. We have already postponed one year, and the situation’s slightly better. We know what we’re dealing with’,” he continues.

“Those are the three splits, and each group has good evidence or proof.”

Gospel impact

Before the pandemic, Asian Access had massive outreach plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. More about that here. They’re adjusting those plans to each new development, but their mission remains the same.

“Let’s pour love on people who God has placed in front of us,” Takazawa says.

“[It’s] not so much ‘If they do the Olympics we can share the Gospel.’ No, regardless of the decision, how can we do this? This is an opportunity to [find] new ways to come alongside and share love.”

July 23, the start date of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, moves a little closer every day. Takazawa requests prayer in these three areas:

  • Opportunity – Pray believers will find Gospel opportunities in places they haven’t looked before. Ask God to present opportunities so believers can share about Christ.
  • Words – Pray Japanese Christians will have the words they need to express their faith clearly. Ask the Lord to remove fear so it won’t hinder their message.
  • Boldness – Pray believers will be “strong and courageous” to share Christ’s hope and love with people who do not know Him.


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