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Toyota withdraws Olympics-related TV commercials

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Just four days out from the opening ceremony, Tokyo 2020 sponsor Toyota says it will not run Games-related TV commercials.

It comes amid lacklustre public support for the Olympics, with two-thirds of Japanese people surveyed doubting organisers can keep the Games safe during the health crisis, according to a local media poll.

The car maker also said on Monday (July 19) that its CEO and other executives will not attend Friday's (July 23) ceremony.

Some 60 Japanese corporations who have paid more than $3 billion for sponsorship rights to the event now face a dilemma over whether to tie their brands to an event that has failed to win strong public backing.

68% of respondents in an Asahi newspaper poll expressed doubt about the ability of Olympic organisers to control coronavirus infections, with 55% saying they were opposed to the Games going ahead.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Tokyo- which is already under a fourth state of emergency- public concern has grown that hosting an event with tens of thousands of overseas athletes, officials and journalists could accelerate infection rates in Japan's capital, and introduce more infectious variants.

IOC President Thomas Bach is standing firm however.

He's said he hopes the public will warm to the Games once competition begins, and as Japanese athletes begin winning medals.

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