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Italian Ambassador says Olympics with no spectators was only viable choice for Japan

  • August 7, 2021
  • , Sankei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

Italian Ambassador to Japan Giorgio Starace, 62, sat down for an interview with the Sankei Shimbun recently and talked about the ongoing Tokyo Olympics being held without spectators due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. He said: “Many people in Italy laud Japan’s decision to hold the Games. There were no spectators in the stadium where the opening ceremony took place, but the ceremony was very impressive.”


Ambassador Starace said the Tokyo Games “were held in a difficult situation” and expressed understanding for the spectator-free Games by saying, “There may not have been other options” when the highly infectious variant first detected in India (the Delta variant) was raging.


He also commended Japan’s anti-infection measures, saying: “Though Japan did not implement a strict lockdown like the U.S. and Europe, the death toll is below the rest of Asia and European nations. Japan is successfully putting the pandemic under a degree of control.”


Ambassador Starace also said: “Only Japan could achieve a situation like this through moderate restrictions on movement and individual morals. This could not have happened either in Europe or the U.S.”


Regarding the situation in Italy, the ambassador said, “We have moved out of an emergency and are controlling the spread of infections through a vaccination promotion campaign in addition to sacrifices by the people and rigid discipline.”


The Italian government has decided to allow the entry of travelers from Japan without quarantine on the condition that they are fully vaccinated. Japan is the only Asian nation for which Italy takes this measure. Ambassador Starace underscored: “It is the result of the evaluation of Japan’s border control measures and vaccination efforts by the Italian health ministry. The European Union (EU) also commends Japan’s anti-infection measures.”


Ambassador Starace assumed his post in 2017 and is scheduled to leave Japan soon. He has been informally tapped as Italy’s next ambassador to Russia.


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