Toyota Pulls Japanese Olympics Ads As Games Come Under Fire

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
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toyota pulls japanese olympics ads as games come under fire

The 2021 Summer Olympics, set to be held in Tokyo starting Friday, are proving to be quite unpopular, at least in Japan. And apparently, Toyota has taken notice and pulled the plug on its planned local advertising during the Games.

We can see why the Games might not be popular, at least with the locals. There are concerns that even without spectators, the gathering of nations to play sports could lead to the spread of the coronavirus. That’s on top of the usual reasons why the Olympics piss people off — the corruption, the crass commercialism, the congestion that usually happens when tourists descend on the host city (though who knows how many will show during a pandemic), et cetera.

“The Olympics is becoming an event that has not gained the public’s understanding,” a Toyota spokesperson said, according to Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper. Toyota senior leadership won’t attend the Opening Ceremonies.

Toyota is one of the Olympics’ biggest sponsors, and all told, Japanese industry has poured $3 billion into the Games.

The carmaker had plans to do on-site marketing, too, but those were scuttled when spectators were barred from attending the Games.

The Games are getting the side-eye from locals because despite promises to keep the Olympic Village COVID-free, there have been over two dozen positive tests so far, and at least one athlete seems to have left the Village, against regulations.

The Games were already delayed a year, and the drive for the almighty dollar kept them from being held back one more year, even if that would’ve been more prudent from a public-health perspective.

Toyota, for its part, saw which way the winds were blowing, so to speak, and decided it would rather not be associated with the Games this go-round.

[Image: Toyota]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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26 of 84 comments
  • Gasser Gasser on Jul 19, 2021

    The L.A. Olympics in 1984 made money. How??? They used the dorms at UCLA and USC and didn’t build new ones. They used the UCLA and USC swimming facilities, As I recall they built a new diving pool and a velodrome at USC. For equestrian events, they used already built facilities at Coto de Caza. They were also run by a guy, Peter Uberoff, who knew what he was doing. He got a lot of corporate sponsors. The profit from the games was spent on sports programs for inner city youth, among other things.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jul 19, 2021

      I think even the Atlanta games were profitable. Of course if they had built a bunch of venues and then banned fans from showing up it likely would have come out differently.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jul 19, 2021

    Will Americans participate under official American flag? I know that American flag become controversial symbol of systemic racism. On the other hand Russians are not allowed to participate under Russian national flag we all proud of. Now waiting for Lui_BC's tirades about Russian trolls.

    • See 22 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jul 22, 2021

      @Old_WRX I'm not complaining. You make comments about “These modern “liberals” have no sense of loyalty or gratitude” You need to explain. Loyalty to whom? Gratitude… for what specifically? “They regularly turn on their History?” Examples? least three. What’s their history? A man needs to be able to explain and defend their comments and beliefs. If you can't do that it's a poor reflection of the man and the beliefs.

  • Theflyersfan Other Elises in this era are selling for double, if not more. It's looking like their value has started to increase as more are crashed and they get rarer. I love these cars. This or the Exige are quite possibly the perfect weekend car for me. For years I was looking to get one but at the time couldn't take the financial plunge, and having street parking...not a chance. And now that things have lined up to where it's good to get one, values increase or the ones a little more reasonable are a little sketchy. First, how many owners? There's the comment of never tracked by the last two owners. But this car is 18 years old with 19,000 miles. Even as a weekend toy, this car would have been driven more than 1,000 miles a year. The supercharger issues are a major red flag. With so few miles, and superchargers being pretty reliable, questions need to be asked. Not having the airbag equipped steering wheel - the car came from Pittsburg(h) (check spelling in ad please) - that part of PA has vehicle inspection and I'm wondering how it passed and got registered when a major part of federally mandated safety equipment was removed. Slid someone some extra cash to have it pass? I'd want that back, even if it means some extra wear and tear on the body getting in and out. Maybe the seller is being up front and he's selling the car at a deep discount due to the divorce and recent moves and just wants to part with it. But I'd have to find out how much to fix or replace the supercharger, get some original parts back because Lotus has it pretty much sorted out when it left the factory and I'd want that feel back, and have the transmission and anything else damaged by aggressive driving and missed shifts. The description in the ad should make a buyer pause without really having a teardown of the car.And just like S2000s and Supras and Integra Type-Rs and RX-7s, finding a good one that hasn't been crudely modded or damaged due to these mods is getting harder and harder... Go back in time, stop The Fast and Furious franchise from ever starting, and maybe we could have saved a few of these cars.
  • SCE to AUX What is a coupe and why should I care?
  • MaintenanceCosts Supercharger inop, and hasn't been fixed before sale? That is sketchier than a guy sitting in front of an easel on the sidewalk.
  • Danddd A friend of mine bought one of these. I drove it a bit. If you're looking for a street legal go cart it's fun. Folding yourself into this thing is something else and I'm 5'9" 152lbs.
  • Thehyundaigarage This was a recall on my spouses 2013 fusion, back in 2017-18.So now they’re recalling it again?Wasn’t an issue on our fusion however, as it sat at the dealer more often than not for warranty work.