Although not a major Olympic contender, Japan was extremely reluctant to join the boycott.

Japan's Olympic Committee president, Katsuji Shibata, said it is with a "heavy heart" that the committee buckled to government pressure and decided not to go.

There has been no sizable protest of that decision, although one occasionally hears some Japanese expressing unhappiness that other friendly countries went and Japan did not. There is a bit of second-guessing that the government bowed too quickly to U.S. pressure when other allied countries held out or permitted teams to go privately.

In a recent interview, the new Japanese foreign minister, Masayoshi Ito, observed that only Japan and West Germany of the major allies had boycotted totally.

"Japan decided to help the United States and boycotted and it is sad to see that others did not," Ito said. "The United States could have exerted leadership to get more countries to go along."

The print media have given reasonably large coverage to the events, but stories are confined to sports pages, even stories about record-breakers, which ordinarily would have been on page one. There is no sign that the sports world considers the Moscow Games anything less than legitimate events.