Video source: YouTube, Nippon TV News 24 Japan
Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: Chart TM - $136.65 0.78 (0.574%) ), one of the top corporate sponsors for the 2020 Tokyo Games, plans to pull its Olympic-themed TV commercials in Japan, where a majority of the people remain opposed to hosting the international sporting event in the middle of a global pandemic.
On Monday, Toyota’s chief communications officer Jun Nagata told reporters, “There are many issues with these Games that are proving difficult to be understood.”
In addition, Akio Toyoda, chief executive officer of Toyota and grandson of the company’s founder, will not attend the opening ceremony, set to take place this Friday. The company, however, will continue to support the 200 athletes competing in the Games who are affiliated with Toyota, The Associated Press noted.
Toyota — the world’s second largest car manufacturer — is one of the Games’ top sponsors, alongside major global brands including The Coca-Cola Company, The Samsung Group and Visa Inc, according to CNN.
The automaker signed on as a worldwide sponsor in 2015, in an 8-year deal worth nearly $1 billion, The Associated Press reported. The sponsorship runs through the 2024 Games and covers three consecutive Olympics in Asia.
According to Deadline, Toyota’s decision will only impact Japanese television. Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal, which has broadcast rights for the 2020 Games, confirmed that Toyota only adjusted its marketing plans in Japan and did not alter or cancel its advertisements in the US.
Media analysts are now watching to see if Toyota’s decision will result in other sponsors and advertisers distancing themselves from the Olympics, The Hollywood Reporter noted.
Tokyo is currently in its fourth state of emergency since the beginning of the pandemic amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the majority of which are being seen in younger, unvaccinated people. So far, only 34% of the country’s overall population have received one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, and just 22% are fully vaccinated.
More than 11,000 athletes from 200 nations are expected to compete in the games, which run from July 23 to Aug. 8. Organizers recently announced that no spectators will be allowed inside venues due to public health concerns and only key stakeholders may attend the opening ceremony.
As of Wednesday, nearly 80 positive coronavirus tests have been reported among people connected with the Olympics, including six athletes. Among them is beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb, the first American athlete who expected to play in the Games to test positive, according to NBC News.
Source: Equities News