Tokyo Olympics 2021: Tropical Storm Poised to Disrupt Games Amid All Other Troubles

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee is taking preventative measures as Japan braces for a tropical storm to make landfall this week. On Sunday, Japan's Meteorological Agency forecasted that Tropical Storm Nepartak could make landfall on Tuesday. Poised to make landfall in the Kanto area, which is located on Japan's main Honshu island, which includes Tokyo, the storm could mark the latest disruption to the Tokyo Olympics 2021, which were delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic and have continued amid soaring temperatures.

According to Japan's Meteorological Agency, and as reported by the Japan Times, Nepartak is expected to bring heavy rain, strong winds, and high waves when it makes landfall Tuesday in the Kanto area or the Tohoku region, which is located further north. As of Sunday afternoon, the storm was located about 1,118 miles (1,800 kilometers) southeast of Tokyo and moving north at a speed of about 9 mph (15 kph) with gusts of up to 67 mph (108 kph). Although Nepartak is expected to strengthen as it nears the coast, experts said they do not expect it to become a typhoon. When it makes landfall, Nepartak could bring gusts of up to 78 mph (126 kph) and up to 5.9 inches (15 centimeters) of rain in the Kanto-Koshin region within a 24-hour timeframe.

Amid the threat, the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee has made moves to take preventative measures, Takaya Masa, spokesperson for the committee, told ESPN. Among those preventative measures was the decision to postpone two days of rowing. The Olympic archery schedule was also altered for Tuesday due to forecasted adverse weather.

"Changing the schedule is not a rare event, and we understand the burden it'll have on athletes. We're looking closely at the path of the typhoon to make decisions as preventative measures. Should it make land, there could be damages, and if that's going to be the case, we will take responsible measures," Masa said. "At this point in time I cannot offer you exactly what will happen, but we will be paying a close eye to it."


Christophe Dubi, sports director for the International Olympic Committee, said "the abilities of the Japanese Meteorological Agency and their abilities to foresee what's coming up is a very big plus, so we're fortunate to have such technology made available." Dubi added, "We've made the decision a few days before the rowing. This is anticipated, which is a good thing as it's not that day, or that minute, where we have to make the call. So this is a comfortable environment for us to be in."