Akira certainly did predict the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The manga and ensuing anime are set against the backdrop of the impending 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It also appears that one panel in the manga refers to measures for combating a contagious disease.
In the third volume of Akira, the following panel reads, “The WHO (World Health Organisation) criticises [Neo-Tokyo’s] epidemic countermeasures.”
AKIRAの3巻にWHO伝染病対策非難と書いてあるのだが、、、 pic.twitter.com/W7986laPfX— ムートンマン (@tLflXfpUNKUIZ64) February 9, 2020
久々にAKIRA読み返したら「WHO、伝染病対策を非難」の文字を見つけて絶句した。2020年の東京オリンピックもそうだけど、もしかして予言の書なんじゃないか？ pic.twitter.com/yIcOzBn2Zq— ドラのび (@doranobic) February 16, 2020
The Japanese word that appears in the text 伝染病 (densenbyou) can be translated as “epidemic.” (Here is another example.) Coronavirus (COVID-19) is thankfully not an epidemic as of writing, and the Japanese media has been referring to it as 感染症 (kansenshou) or “infectious disease.”
As The Japan Times, where I am a columnist, reported late last month, the Japanese government and Prime Minister Abe have been facing criticism for its response to the coronavirus. The WHO, however, hasn’t recommended the need for contingency plans for the Tokyo Olympics.
However, it’s being pointed out that the graffiti on this Tokyo Olympic countdown clock reads chuushi (中止), meaning “stop”, “suspend”, or even “cancel.” While the Olympics are still scheduled to go, Tokyo has cancelled the Emperor’s birthday greeting celebration on February 23 due to coronavirus fears. Entrants for the upcoming Tokyo Marathon will also be restricted because of the virus.
コロナウイルス蔓延で東京オリンピック中止になるかな？— ひらまち@250単気筒でもてぎで2分30秒切りたい (@HiRaMaTi) February 14, 2020
Note that the date on Tokyo Olympic countdown sign apparently corresponds to February 28, which is 147 days before the games get underway this July.
This isn’t the only thing the Akira manga seemed to have forboded.
香港のデモで道路標識を盾にして腕に装着して— 平野耕太 (@hiranokohta) July 1, 2019
Last year, it was pointed out that that the Hong Kong protesters were using street signs as shields as in the manga.
These predictions are, no doubt, unfortunate real-world coincidences that, if anything, show just how relevant Akira still is after all these years.