Japan condom-makers fear anticlimax at Olympics

Japan Times -- Jun 18
For Japanese condom makers, the Olympics were supposed to be a golden opportunity, with hordes of eager tourists and tens of thousands of their innovative, ultra-thin prophylactics given to athletes.

But a ban on overseas fans, strict virus rules and regulations preventing the distribution of their premium condoms to competitors have left manufacturers deflated.

Since the 1988 Seoul Games, hundreds of thousands of free condoms have been distributed at the Olympics, to encourage safe sex as the world’s elite athletes mingle at close quarters.

While organizers are still expected to hand out 160,000 at the pandemic-postponed games, which start next month, virus rules should limit interaction in the Olympic Village.

The rulebook for athletes specifically warns them to “avoid unnecessary forms of physical contact,” leaving some wondering why condoms are being distributed at all.

The plan to give them out “is something I just cannot comprehend”, tweeted Ken Noguchi, a Japanese mountaineer and environmental activist.

Games organizers say distributing condoms is meant to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, and that the International Olympic Committee has asked for the handouts to continue this year, despite the pandemic.

- Japan Times