Two-time defending Olympic men's figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu joined other athletes on Friday in a social media public service campaign promoted by the Japanese Olympic Committee to battle the new coronavirus pandemic.
In a video posted on the JOC's official Twitter account, Hanyu reminded people to "refrain from going out unnecessarily" and to cooperate with each other to prevent the spread of infection."
Looking back on the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of Japan's northeast Pacific coast, including his hometown Sendai, Hanyu said, "I believe a light can be seen just as it was on the pitch black night sky on March 11."
Hanyu offered his thanks to health care workers on the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus, saying, "I pray a day comes when we can chat with heartfelt smiles on our faces."
The JOC's athletes committee took the lead on a campaign that also involves the Japan Paralympic Committee's athletes committee. Athletes in every federation were asked to contribute with the only rule being that their messages include a hashtag in Japanese that reads "what you can do in sports now."
Athletes using the hashtag now make up a virtual who's who of Japanese sports with Japan national rugby team captain Michael Leitch, men's badminton world No. 1 Kento Momota and Olympic speed skating champion Nao Kodaira.