Japan (MNN) — Support for the Tokyo Olympics just hit a new low in Japan. The latest spike in Tokyo’s COVID-19 infections has 80-percent of Japanese residents saying the Summer Games should be rescheduled again, or canceled altogether.
“People have different feelings. Some [are] saying, ‘it’s impossible so let’s give up’; [the] government hasn’t,” Takeshi Takazawa explains. Takazawa is Vice President for Strategic Engagement and is the former National Director of A2/Japan for Asian Access.
Asian Access had high hopes for Olympic outreach, but those plans were put on hold last spring. For now, leaders focus on more pressing needs – stemming the rising depression and suicide rates in Japan.
Tokyo Olympics and mental health
Depression rose 477-percent among professional athletes between mid-March and August last year, one study found. Athletes and sports enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who struggle. Depression and suicide rates skyrocketed in Japan, too.
“The depression, suicide rate has sharply shifted from older generation into a younger generation. [The] female [suicide rate] has increased since last summer, when two of the famous celebrities committed suicide,” Takazawa says.
Ask God to give believers the right words as they share Christ’s hope with hurting individuals online. Pray for wisdom for Japanese church leaders as they navigate changing regulations. Support Gospel work in Japan through Asian Access.
“We need to stand in the gap. Let’s stand together as a global faith community [and] encourage one another to pray for all [of these] things,” Takazawa suggests.
“Crises sometimes push us away from God. But God wants to want us to draw near to Him, so challenge each other – are we praying more because of this crisis?”
Header image courtesy of Tokyo Organizing Committee.