Tokyo Olympics biggest sponsor Toyota won’t run Games ads in Japan over Covid-19 situation

Toyota will not be releasing any commercials related to the Tokyo Games in Japan, choosing instead to run its “regular” ads there.

The company has decided to keep a subdued role despite being the event’s biggest sponsor.

According to Toyota’s North American division, the automaker’s decision is limited to Japan, and was made “out of sensitivity to the Covid-19 situation in that country.”

In the United States, a “campaign has already been shown nationally and will continue to be shown as planned with our media partners during the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the company said.

The representative, Hideaki Honma, emphasized Monday that the company was not “canceling” any Olympics-related commercials, saying that none were planned in the first place.

Honma also confirmed that Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda would not be attending the Olympics opening ceremony, set to take place this Friday.

Toyota is one of the top sponsors of the Olympics, alongside major global brands such as Coca-Cola, Samsung and Visa.

Its mixed approach across countries highlights the complexity of the situation as the world continues to grapple with an uneven recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Experts have warned of the games turning into a coronavirus super-spreading event. Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers have pulled out of the games. The government and officials are keen on finishing the delayed events.

Earlier this month, Japan said the Games would be held under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic

Some Japanese business leaders have also spoken out amid the controversy. In May, Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said that it would be a “suicide mission” for the country to host the Games this summer.