Bridgestone CEO Backs Safe Tokyo Olympics, Dials Back Marketing

Bridgestone Corp. will support the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic games as a key sponsor as long as the safety of participants is secured, Chief Executive Officer Shuichi Ishibashi said.

The Japanese tiremaker won’t invite guests from overseas, including dealers, for the delayed games, Ishibashi said in an interview. Organizers have already made the decision not to allow international spectators.

Bridgestone CEO Backs Safe Tokyo Olympics, Dials Back Marketing

Bridgestone tires will be used for cars by Toyota Motor Corp., another Olympics sponsor, and vehicles for the International Olympic Committee, the CEO said. But Bridgestone will refrain from holding a big marketing campaign because of the situation surrounding Covid-19 infections, he added.

“It’ll be very simple — we’ll think about athletes and convey our message for diversity and inclusion,” Ishibashi said. “Our position is clear: athletes will play the leading role.”

Although there are less than 100 days before the Games are due to begin July 23, the nation is struggling to keep infection numbers under control, even though they are at much lower levels than other developed economies. The country is set to declare a state of emergency as cities including Tokyo and Osaka face another surge in cases. Last week, Toshihiro Nikai, a senior official in Japan’s ruling party, indicated that canceling the Tokyo Olympics was an option.

“I think everybody agrees that if safety isn’t guaranteed, we won’t be able to hold the games,” Ishibashi said. “I want to wait for the IOC’s final decision.”

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