Condoms distributed at Tokyo Olympics meant to be taken home to raise awareness: Organising committee

The condoms are part of the IOC's attempt to address the issue of HIV.

Matthias Ang | June 02, 2021, 01:06 PM

Japan is intending to distribute up to 160,000 condoms at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Japanese media Tokyo Sports and SoraNews24 reported.

However, the organising committee has clarified that such condoms are not meant to be used in the Olympic Village.

Instead, athletes should take the condoms back home to raise awareness about HIV, the committee added, citing the International Olympics' Committee's (IOC) objective of using the Games as a platform to address the issue.

Condoms will be provided to the athletes for free

Earlier in February, organisers confirmed that the condoms will be provided for free to the athletes, despite releasing a 33-page document detailing social distancing rules that the participants must also abide by.

These rules include a ban on socialising, hugging and high-fives, with athletes urged to limit their contact with others "as much as possible" so as to minimise the risk of infection.

In addition, athletes are restricted to official game venues, training camps and "limited additional locations", with the need for all of their movements to be logged.

They are also banned from heading to gyms, tourist areas, shops, restaurants and bars, and must seek permission to use public transport.

They also potentially face being kicked out of the games, should they break any of the social distancing rules.

The announcement about the provision of condoms has drawn ridicule online with netizens pointing out the incongruence in providing condoms, while asking people to maintain social distance.

Japanese people furious after IOC insists "sacrifices" must be made for Games to go ahead

In the meantime, the IOC has drawn the ire of the Japanese people, after its vice-president, John Coates, said that the Olympic Games would proceed even if Tokyo was still under a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was echoed by the IOC's president, Thomas Bach, who added, "The athletes definitely can make their Olympic dreams come true. We have to make some sacrifices to make this possible."

It was assumed by many social media users in Japan that Bach had the Japanese public in mind when he referred to the sacrifices that needed to be made, drawing a series of backlash online.

Support among the Japanese public is low

Support for the games among the Japanese public also remains low with a recent Kyodo News poll indicating that around 60 per cent of people in Japan do not want the Tokyo Olympics to proceed as scheduled.

The Tokyo Medical Practitioners’ Association, which boasts around 6,000 members, also called for the Olympics to be cancelled in a letter directed to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, and Seiko Hashimoto, the head of the organising committee.

The letter, which was published on the association's website said:

"Viruses are spread by people’s movements. Japan will hold a heavy responsibility if the Olympics and Paralympics work to worsen the pandemic, increasing the number of those who must suffer and die."

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