Cumbernauld man in Japan provides insight into the Olympics

A former Cumbernauld resident who made a new life for himself in Japan has provided a first-hand view of Japanese attitudes towards the Olympics in Tokyo.
Liam CarriganLiam Carrigan
Liam Carrigan

Liam Carrigan (37) who has also lived in Kilsyth teaches English in Nagano prefecture -and believes that a certain mindset in Japan has prompted a singular response to what is being referred to as "the ghost games."

He believes support was not always strong elsewhere in the country –and he argues that in in Japanese eyes, there would seem to be little point in protesting in issues which spark outcry elsewhere.

Liam said: "To be honest, there was resistance to hosting the games even before they were awarded to Tokyo. Much in the same way as people in the UK often resent the London-centric nature of business and government, there's a feeling in Japan that ‘Tokyo always get everything’

"Unfortunately there's also a feeling of futility as to what can be done about it. Japan isn't really a society where widespread protests are common. Although the Black Lives Matter movement last year did lead to a few rallies but they were mostly led by the black foreign community.

"The same goes for the International Olympic Committee. Most Japanese I have spoken to feel the Government are afraid to challenge the IOC, and will instead do as they are told

"However, the accepted wisdom here is that men with power and financial clout can do what they want. This is also why the Me Too movement never really took root here despite some high profile cases of abuse.

“Yet things are changing, especially among the younger generations. The Government have hurt a lot of people here with the total lack of furlough scheme or lockdown, not to mention the criminally slow vaccine rollout.

Liam expects to be fully vaccinated by August in a country where only a third of residents have been vaccinated to date. And he hopes he may be able to fly back to Scotland at Christmas -where he wouldn’t have a problem self-isolating for 10 days if he can spend time with family.

The problem lies in Japan -where a 10 day home quarantine is also required. In Liam’s case, that’s three hours from the airport. And the sticking point is quite simply that he would not be allowed to use public transport to get there, as rules currently stand.