EDITORIAL: Tokyo Olympics Sporting Tonic to Spur Recovery, Economic Growth

The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), September 11, 2013 | Go to article overview

EDITORIAL: Tokyo Olympics Sporting Tonic to Spur Recovery, Economic Growth


We are delighted that the Olympic flame will be lit again in Tokyo.

Tokyo has been chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games and Paralympics after comfortably defeating Istanbul in the decisive vote at the International Olympic Committee's general meeting in Buenos Aires.

Fifty-six years after it hosted the Olympics in 1964, Tokyo will be home to the sports extravaganza for a second time. Together with the Winter Games in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998, the 2020 Games will be the fourth time Japan has hosted the Olympics.

Athletes from around the world will converge on Tokyo. The news that Tokyo has been selected to host the Games has probably given hope to many Japanese people. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wants the Games to be "a spark to end deflation."

All-out efforts got job done

Seven years remain before the Tokyo Olympics begin. The nation must make unbridled efforts to ensure the international sports event is a success.

Tokyo was said to be locked in a tight struggle with Istanbul and Madrid in the bidding race, but the final result was a solid victory by Tokyo.

Final presentations by Paralympic athlete Mami Sato and other speakers at the IOC general meeting were all excellent and brimming with enthusiasm.

Princess Hisako of Takamado expressed gratitude for the international support given after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011. Her remarks apparently struck a chord with IOC members who cast votes.

One factor behind Tokyo's victory was the all-out campaigning made by the wide spectrum of sectors behind the bid. The political and business worlds offered their full support. The public support rate for hosting the Games was significantly higher than it was during the unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Ardent lobbying of IOC members by the Tokyo bidding committee, which consisted of Olympic medalists and others, also achieved the desired result.

Tokyo's blueprint and vision for the Games were rated highly from the very beginning. The main event venues will be within an eight-kilometer radius of the Olympic Village to minimize travel times for athletes as much as possible. The plans give utmost consideration to the athletes.

In light of its high public safety, well-prepared transport networks and accommodation facilities, and stable financial backing including funds of 400 billion yen, some IOC members likely voted for Tokyo because they recognized the capi-tal's excellent ability to host such a major event. Tokyo fared well in these aspects, compared with the two other candidate cities, which are fraught with such problems as political instability and a fiscal crisis.

A primary concern that threatened to derail Tokyo's bid--and an issue widely reported overseas--was the leaks of contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

On Friday, South Korea announced it would ban imports of marine products from Fukushima and seven other prefectures. This step, devoid of any scientific backing, is seen by some as an attempt by Seoul to tarnish Tokyo's image.

Toxic leak issue festering

In response to a question by an IOC member, Abe said: "The impact [of the leak] has been completely blocked within the port facilities of the nuclear plant. …

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EDITORIAL: Tokyo Olympics Sporting Tonic to Spur Recovery, Economic Growth
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