Toyota reportedly ditches sponsorship of Tokyo Olympics as criticism grows louder

Tokyo, Japan - Olympic top sponsor Toyota will reportedly not air advertisements related to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics because of wide-ranging concerns around the event in the Japanese host country.

Toyota is among 14 top tier sponsors of the International Olympic Committee.
Toyota is among 14 top tier sponsors of the International Olympic Committee.  © Collage: 123RF/piter2121 & IMAGO / Panoramic International

Local media quoted the Japanese carmaker as saying that it was pulling the ads because of the controversy around the staging of the July 23-August 8 Games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Toyota also reportedly said that its chief Akio Toyoda and other company members would not attend the opening ceremony on Friday.

The company appears to fear that its image could be dented by its ties to the Games because a majority of Japanese opposes their staging in the current situation.

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Toyota are among 14 "top program" sponsors of the International Olympic Committee, which spend billions of dollars for exclusive advertising rights. It has been the IOC's official car and mobility sponsor since 2015.

Tokyo is under a state of emergency and coronavirus infection numbers are rising again in the area, with almost all Olympic events to take place behind closed doors.

There have also been several coronavirus cases within the Olympic bubble but Japan's government, local organizers and the IOC have pledged safe Games amid a tight health protocol.

Cover photo: Collage: 123RF/piter2121 & IMAGO / Panoramic International

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