The latest sad development for the troubled event.

It’d be a massive understatement to say that the runup to the Tokyo Olympics has been less than smooth. First came the coronavirus-caused postponement of the Games, which were originally supposed to open in July of 2020. Then the president of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee resigned last month, followed by the resignation of its chief creative director this week.

And now comes the bowing out of another Olympic partner before the first event even takes place, with the closing of the Tokyo, Fuchu branch of the official Tokyo Olympics merchandise shop. Shoppers in the west Tokyo neighborhood still have a few days left to visit the store, which has recently put up a printed notice, in Japanese and English, saying

“Dear customers
We regret to inform you that our shop will be closing on March 21st. Thank you very much for your support since the opening of the shop.”

It’s not a shocking decision, since it’s hard to imagine demand for Olympics merch being lower than it is now. It’s hard to feel a sense of excited anticipation in the air when there’s a chance that public respiration is going to give you a deadly disease, and even if Tokyo goes through with its current plan to open the Olympics on their target date of July 23, there’s the question of whether or not overseas athletes will come to compete, and if spectators will be allowed to watch in-person.

On the bright side, all is not lost for those who want to buy Tokyo Olympic memorabilia, since the Tokyo Olympics Official Shop does still have multiple branches open in Tokyo (there’s a list here), many in more centralized locations than Fuchu. It’s also possible that the Fuchu store’s closure is partially influenced by spring being the start of the fiscal year for many Japanese businesses, meaning they may have needed to make a choice between shutting down the store now or extending their lease until well after the Games are scheduled to finish and demand for their wares has completely disappeared. Still, it’s sad to think that the Fuchu branch couldn’t go the distance until the event that’s the entire reason its existence even started.

Source: Tokyo Olympics Official Shop, Twitter/@kokusairengo via Hachima Kiko
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