Host the Tokyo Olympics and the Paralympics chosen from the best national news of 2021
Hosting the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics amid the coronavirus pandemic has been chosen as the best national report of 2021 by the editors of Kyodo News and its member or subscriber newspapers and broadcasters.
(1) The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are held behind closed doors
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, have mostly been held behind closed doors to stem the spread of infections.
Amid Japanese public concern over hosting the Summer Games during the pandemic, as the capital and other parts of the country were under the COVID-19 state of emergency, Japanese athletes excelled winning a total of 58 medals, including a record 27 gold, at the Olympics and 51, including 13 gold, at the Paralympic Games.
Special page on the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games
(2) Japan has repeatedly suffered a COVID-19 state of emergency
The Japanese government imposed a fourth state of emergency, in which establishments serving alcohol were asked to suspend operations, in Tokyo to stem the spread of coronavirus infections in July, after the first declared in April 2020 In August, the number of new coronavirus cases topped 25,000 a day at one point.
(3) Prime Minister Suga resigns, successor Kishida forms government
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga abruptly said on September 3 that he would step down as his cabinet suffered from low approval rates due to its failure to contain the spread of coronavirus infections. Fumio Kishida became the country’s 100th prime minister after winning the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential ballot on September 29, launching his first cabinet on October 4.
(4) COVID-19 ‘Fifth Wave’ Causes Health System Crisis
The so-called “fifth wave” of infections led by the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus has put a strain on the country’s healthcare system. Cases of COVID-19 patients who have not been admitted to hospitals have increased due to a shortage of hospital beds. In Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo, a newborn baby has died because his mother, infected with the virus, could not find a hospital.
(5) The PLD in power in Japan retains the majority in the lower house
Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party won 261 of the 465 seats in the House of Representatives, enough to effectively control all standing committees, in the October 31 general election. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida inaugurated his second cabinet on November 10.
(6) Japan celebrates 10th anniversary of massive earthquake
On March 11, Japan celebrated the 10th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan. More than 18,000 people have died or gone missing as a result of the disaster, which triggered a nuclear accident at a power station in Fukushima Prefecture. About 40,000 people still live far from their homes after the collapse of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Special page 3/11 Fukushima: 10 years later
(7) Princess Mako and her boyfriend Kei Komuro get married
Princess Mako, a niece of Emperor Naruhito, married her commoner boyfriend Kei Komuro on October 26 after years of controversy over a financial dispute involving Komuro’s mother that led the couple to forgo traditional ceremonies associated with a royal wedding. The newlyweds left Japan to start a new life in the United States in November.
(8) Massive mudslide hits Atami spa in central Japan after torrential rains
A massive mudslide triggered by torrential rains engulfed a residential area in Atami, a hot spa resort in Shizuoka Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, on July 3, leaving 27 people dead or missing. Grieving families and local entrepreneurs have taken legal action against current and former owners of the land behind the landslide, claiming a total of approximately 3.2 billion yen ($ 28 million) in damages and interest.
(9) More than 70% of the Japanese population vaccinated against COVID-19
More than 70 percent of the population in Japan are currently fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after the government began the vaccination program in February. The pace of vaccination accelerated over the summer to 1 million shots per day, and reminders for healthcare professionals began in December.
(10) Fujii becomes the youngest holder of 4 major titles in the shogi by winning the Ryuo crown
Shogi prodigy Sota Fujii won the prestigious Ryuo Championship on November 13 with a four-game sweep against Masayuki Toyoshima. Aged 19 years and three months, he becomes the youngest player in history to hold four major titles. He broke the previous record set by Yoshiharu Habu, who held four major titles in 1993 at 22 years and nine months before sweeping the seven majors that existed in 1996.
Teenage shogi player Sota Fujii poses at a hotel in Yamaguchi Prefecture city in Ube, western Japan on November 13, 2021, after winning Ryuo, the shogi’s most prestigious title, against Masayuki Toyoshima in Game 4 of the Best Seven Series. (Kyodo)