Major Tokyo Olympics sponsor Toyota will drop all its TV adverts in Japan as the controversial games court widespread criticism in Japan, according to a report.
Toyota chief executive officer, Akio Toyoda, said on Monday he would not be attending the opening ceremony and that its advertising campaign in Japan had been withdrawn.
A spokeswoman told Reuters: “It is true that Toyota will not be attending the opening ceremony, and the decision was made considering various factors including no spectators.
“We will not be airing any commercials related to the Games in Japan.”
A Toyota spokesperson told Newsweek: “We do not discuss the details of our media strategy, but our focus remains on achieving the goals we set out when we became the first worldwide mobility partner of the IOC and the IPC in 2015: helping to create a peaceful society without discrimination through sports and a sustainable society through mobility.”
Toyota’s decision to distance itself from the Olympics is yet another blow for the crisis-hit games, which are set to start on Friday.
Dozens of corporations who, according to the outlet, paid more than $3 billion in sponsorship deals to the postponed games are now weighing up whether to press on with advertising or pull out amid strong public criticism of the event.
In a recent poll carried out by an Asahi newspaper, 68 percent of people said they had some doubts about Olympics organizers being able to control COVID-19 infection, with another 55 percent being completely opposed to the games going ahead at all.
The poll also found three-quarters of the 1,444 respondents agreed that banning spectators from events was the correct decision.
Public concerns have risen as Tokyo was placed under its fourth state of emergency over the rise in COVID-19 cases in the megacity.
In the capital, there have been a total of 189,000 cases with 1,008 being added to the total as of yesterday, Sunday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
The Japanese public also fears that athletes entering the country could drive up infection rates in the capital and introduce new variants into Japan.
Already, two South Africa football players were struck down by the virus and another six athletes and two staff members of Great Britain’s team are self-isolating after coming into close contact with a person who tested positive for the virus after they arrived in the country.
Altogether, organizers have found 58 positive cases among athletes, officials and journalists since July 2, according to Reuters.
The outlet added, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has since said he hopes the Japanese public warms to the games when they begin.
Government spokesman Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a media briefing, which was translated into English by Reuters: “We will continue to co-operate and work closely with organizers such as Tokyo 2020 and the IOC to ensure we have a safe and secure environment for the games.”
The Tokyo Olympics will be held between July 23 to August 8.
Newsweek has contacted the Olympics media team for comment.