The list of Japanese companies skipping the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony grows

The moves are in response to the decision to exclude all spectators from the Games.

(ATR) Three more major Japanese companies have decided not to send senior officials to the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Fujitsu Ltd. and NEC Corp. announced their plans on Tuesday, a day after Toyota said its CEO Akio Toyoda and other top executives would skip the event.

All of the companies cited the decision to hold the Games without spectators as the reason for their decision.

Automaker Toyota is also putting the brakes on its sponsorship of the Tokyo Olympics.

The worldwide Olympic sponsor says it will pull its Olympic-related advertising on Japanese TV in the face of sagging public opinion for the Games.

Toyota CEO Akiyo Toyoda with a look at the company's flying car concept. (Toyota)
Toyota CEO Akiyo Toyoda with a look at the company's flying car concept. (Toyota)

The last minute pushback by a major sponsor is unprecedented in the annals of the IOC’s worldwide sponsorship program which was launched in 1984. Currently there are 12 top level sponsors who pay upwards of $200 million per four years.

Until the spread of the coronavirus pandemic led to the one year postponement of the Tokyo Games, Toyota was planning on a significant activation as the mobility partner. The company has created self-driving vehicles for use during the Games. At one time, Toyota was said to be developing a flying car which would be used to help light the cauldron in the July 23 opening ceremony.

Along with Coca-Cola, Toyota is a presenting partner of the Olympic Torch Relay. Both sponsors have taken a hit on the event which has been stripped of crowds and public events as a virus countermeasure.

Toyota will continue its Olympic advertising in other markets outside Japan.

Bridgestone, another global Olympic sponsor, is also not broadcasting commercials, according to the Japan Times.