Last summer, Tokyo should have joined Athens, Paris, London and Los Angeles as one of the few cities to have hosted the Summer Olympics more than once. Of course, the pandemic put a spanner in the works and the event was postponed until July 23, 2021. It wasn’t the first time Japan’s capital had been forced to delay the Games. The Land of the Rising Sun was set to become the first non-Western country to host the Olympics in 1940, but it forfeited the right to do so when it went to war with China, in 1937, a fact not lost on Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who last year said, “It’s a problem that’s happened every 40 years – it’s the cursed Olympics, and that’s a fact .” In 1980, Japan was one of 65 countries to boycott the Games in Moscow, to protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Renowned for his gaffes – Aso recently blamed Japan’s low birth rate and ageing population on women and he once praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s motives – in this instance, he might be right, as debate erupts over whether the Games should go ahead this year. Public support for the event, which was supposed to bring in a significant number of the 40 million tourists Japan hoped to attract in 2020, has plummeted amid a new wave of Covid-19 cases and a state of emergency declared in several prefectures, including Tokyo. According to a poll by the Kyodo news agency, 80 per cent of respondents believe the Games should be cancelled or postponed again, a 20 per cent increase from a December survey. Tokyo 2020 support at new low as public turns against Games The International Olympic Committee has ruled out another postponement , meaning the show must go on – or not; while Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has committed to hosting a “safe and secure” Olympics, a cabinet minister told Reuters on January 14 that “it could go either way”. “But the Games – and the tourism dollars they bring – are a top priority for […] Suga,” reports Reuters. Rather than the 40 million arrivals it hoped for last year, Japan welcomed just 4 million, “levels it has not seen since 1998”, according to news organisation Quartz. Although the country does not rely on tourism to keep its economy afloat, the industry provides an important injection of cash, not to mention millions of jobs. In 2019, Japan recorded 31.8 million international visitors, who spent US$46 billion. That money will be missed, especially as the nation has shelled out US$15.4 billion on the Games, making it the most expensive Summer Olympics ever, according to an Oxford University study. Explaining the eye-watering expenditure, the CEO of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee, Toshiro Muto, suggested that it should be considered “an investment”, reports Associated Press. Even if the Games do go ahead, who will attend? Not only is there the small matter of bringing 15,400 Olympians and Paralympians safely into Tokyo, there is also the question of what to do with the spectators, who, in any other year, would turn up in their hundreds of thousands. At the time of writing, foreign nationals are barred from entering Japan. July might be months away but, according to AP, an agreement needs to be reached by March 25, when the Olympic torch relay is expected to start. Then there is the issue of face. “Japan’s standing in Asia and in the world matters a great deal, particularly in view of its rivalry with China,” Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Tokyo’s Sophia University, told AP. “It would be a nightmare for [the leadership] if Japan fails to be the host of the first ‘post-Covid’ Olympics and the title goes to China.” It seems likely, then, that we can look forward to seeing the 2021 Tokyo Olympics proceed, curse or no curse. Hong Kong among ‘most Instagrammable places in the world’ Big 7 Travel, a platform aimed at social media-driven travellers, has released its 50 Most Instagrammable Places in the World 2021 list, compiled using “a comprehensive scoring system that analysed the number of hashtags per destination, sample survey results of Big 7 Media’s 1.5 million audience, and input from our global editorial team”, says Big 7. Revealing that new media is a lot like old media, Asian destinations on the list include: Phuket, in Thailand; Hoi An, in Vietnam; Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur; Seoul, in South Korea; Jakarta, in Indonesia; Taiwan; Hong Kong; Singapore; the Philippines; and Tokyo, in Japan, which took the top spot. When it comes to our fair city’s picture-perfect sites, Big 7 recommends the Choi Hung Estate, “the futuristic architecture of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower” and “the iconic views” of the Yick Cheong Building, the management of which banned photography in 2018 after an influx of wannabe influencers. Monkey business: Bali’s macaques get wise On the Indonesian island of Bali, monkey business is booming, according to a new study. Dr Jean-Baptiste Leca, associate professor in the psychology department at the University of Lethbridge, in Canada, spent 273 days filming interactions between long-tailed macaques and human visitors to Uluwatu temple and observed that the animals – known for robbing tourists of their possessions and holding them as ransom until food is offered – seem to have learned that high-value items such as mobile phones, wallets and prescription glasses result in tastier rewards.