Tokyo wins Olympics for 2020. What do you think about that?


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Hi Blog. Coming out of break briefly for important news about Tokyo’s successful bid for the 2020 Olympics, announced earlier today. In lieu of any comments from me (you can probably anticipate that did not support Tokyo’s bid, and not least because Tokyo Governor Inose resorted to inappropriate comments about other candidates in public), I’ll just open up this blog entry for discussion. Commenters are welcome to also include articles that present cogent arguments pro and con, and more to the point how Japan could get the Games despite an ongoing nuclear crisis (all that CNN below can speculate were detractors for the other candidates was a neighboring conflict in Syria and continuing economic malaise in Spain — something Japan has plenty of experience with too). Read on. Arudou Debito

Tokyo to host 2020 Olympic Games
By CNN Staff
updated 8:15 PM EDT, Sat September 7, 2013
IOC president Jacques Rogge announces the winner of the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, following Saturday’s vote in Buenos Aires.

(CNN) — Tokyo has been chosen by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2020 Summer Games.

In voting Saturday in Buenos Aires, the committee picked Tokyo over the two other contenders, Madrid and Istanbul.
The announcement came at 5:20 a.m. Tokyo time, but a large crowd watching on an outdoor video screen burst into cheers.

Tokyo previously hosted the Summer Games in 1964.

Japan’s bid for 2020 billed the city as the safe choice — despite radiation leaking from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe personally made a presentation to the committee and promised an effective cleanup.

“I am so happy, I am overjoyed,” Abe told reporters at the post-announcement press conference.

“I would like to share this joy with the people back home. We’ve received so much support from the people of the IOC and I would also like to express my support to them. And to the people around the world.

“A safe and secure Olympic Games will be staged by us — I think that was another hope for their support. I would like to pledge that we will be discharging this responsibility.”

Abe said Tokyo would try to stage a successful Games to thank the world for its support after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan.

“Sport has the power to unite people,” he said. “We experienced that after the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, when athletes came to our country and helped us. Japan needs the power of sport, we need hopes and dreams.”

Abe said Tokyo’s 1964 Olympics had left a strong impression on him as a child.

“I was only 10 years old but a lot of kids like me were fascinated. Like many children I dreamed of winning a medal. It was a celebration giving hopes and dreams,” he said. “The joy (of winning the 2020 vote) was even greater than when I won my own election.”

Tokyo’s bid came in at $5 billion to $6 billion, compared to $19 billion pledged by Istanbul, said Ed Hula, editor and founder of, which covers the business and politics of the Olympic movement.

But Tokyo’s government has already amassed a $4.9 billion Olympic fund to pay to prepare for the Games, Hula said. And a $1 billion national stadium that will be used for the athletic events and the Opening Ceremonies will already have been built for the rugby World Cup in 2017 and is not considered an Olympic expense.

Turkey would have been the first Muslim country to host the Games, and with a median age of less than 30 years, one of the youngest. However, it missed out for the fifth time.

Istanbul would have been “a more emotional choice,” Hula said. But its huge bid would have been needed to fund infrastructure improvements, including modernization of its transportation system.

Turkey’s border with Syria also might have troubled some committee members, he said.

And this summer, the image of Turkish sport took a hit when about three dozen athletes tested positive for drugs, he said.

June’s rioting in Istanbul’s Taksim Square may also have tainted the city’s hopes, though Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan tried to persuade IOC members ahead of Saturday’s vote.

“We live at a time when our region and the world crave for peace,” Erdogan said as part of Istanbul’s final presentation.

“And at this critical moment, we would like to send a strong message of peace to the whole world from Istanbul, the city of friendship and brotherhood.”

Tokyo led after a first round of voting Saturday but fell short of a majority, with 42. Istanbul and Madrid tied for second on 26 votes each, and a 49-45 tiebreaker vote put the Turkish city in the final runoff with Tokyo.

Tokyo won the deciding vote, 60 to Istanbul’s 36, according to an IOC tweet.

Madrid, like Tokyo, was a repeat bidder — making its third consecutive case for the Games, one that was little changed from previous attempts, Hula said.

The Spaniards’ $2 billion bid said they had little need for new infrastructure, he said. And they have ample sports experience, having hosted a number of other high-profile, international events.

But the country’s economic plight remained a drawback, with one out of four adults unemployed. Though Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted that rate is improving, “the fact is that most reasonable, sensible economists think unemployment is going to linger at a high level for years to come,” Hula said.

And Spain’s athletes, too, have had issues with doping accusations. In a case that occurred several years ago, blood bags from athletes who had tested positive were destroyed, Hula said. “It’s been a long-running situation.”

Spain’s Prince Philip, a former Olympic sailor, was a lead figure in Spain’s presentation.

“Some people around the world have questioned hosting the Games in a time of economic uncertainty,” he told the IOC members Saturday ahead of the voting.

“But I don’t see this as a threat to the Olympics, I see it as an opportunity. The benefits of sport are measured in generations, not in dollars.”

On Sunday, the three sports competing to be added to the 2020 roster will know their fate.

Squash is hoping to be included for the first time, but is up against a combined baseball/softball bid and wrestling — which is seeking to be reinstated.

The 125th IOC Session will be the last for its president Jacques Rogge, who is standing down after 12 years in the role. The 71-year-old’s successor will be elected Tuesday.

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be in Brazil. The Winter Olympics will be held in Russia in 2014 and South Korea in 2018.

50 comments on “Tokyo wins Olympics for 2020. What do you think about that?

  • I was rooting for anywhere but Tokyo, but I understand their decision. Given the turmoil in the middle east, Japan most likely lobbied hard under the “safety” banner. It seems that Madrid did not put much effort into their bid this time. Given the various factors, Tokyo was an easy choice.

    What are a few human rights violations (in Japan) when countries around Turkey are in civil war (Syria), near civil war (Egypt), or general disarray (Iraq).

    On the bright side, the Olympics will bring a lot of attention to Japan. It should be an opportunity to shine some light on so many of the areas where they are lacking.

  • I don’t care much about the Olympics and barely watch them, but like with Sepp Blatter of FIFA it is well known that the IOC process of finding the venue is corrupted beyond recognition. It involves bribery of all kinds (money, “relaxation weekends”, etc.) of the “chosen few” delegates of the participating countries that elect the venue. It’s no surprise Japan can win these things.
    If there are people who hope that it will open the visitor’s eyes to Japan’s discrimination culture, I doubt it. It is next to impossible for someone speaking no or little Japanese who first comes to Japan and stays only a couple of days or weeks to see through the tatemae of “miracle technology country Japan!”, so what this will do is create a lot of happy first-time visitors who will go on and perpetuate the myths once back home.
    As for me, in 2020 I’ll be long gone and hopefully never have returned to this place.

  • @Bayfield, I’m quoting your comment from the other thread. I agree with your opinion on the domestic effect of the winning bid. It will give Abe a huge boost.

    Yet, I don’t share your outlook when you say:

    “However, Japan’s hosting of the 2020 Olympics can backfire on Japan’s “tolerant” international image, should people like Ishihara and Hashimoto open their mouths. The outside community will at least know of the real Japan as nutjobs start making cruel and snide comments towards NJ which will eventually be widely publicized just like Hashimoto’s speech a while back. Also since the Olympics will be in 2020, Japan’s nationalism will probably be much, much worse by then. I see a potential scenario where nationalists like the Zaitokukai will end up attacking NJ which will end up becoming an incident of international scrutiny.”

    I obviously can’t look into the future, but if we suppose Japan works in 2020 like it does today, and there is little hope that it doesn’t, then I am sure nothing like what you speculate about will happen. Remember, this country is strictly a top-down oligarchy. All it takes is a couple of phone calls from Nagatachō to the Yakuza head offices, to the Zaitokukai leaders, etc., briefing everyone on the importance of showing Omote-Nippon to the world during the time of the Olympics.

    I bet there will be no speaker vans, no Nazi statements, and no radiation leaks whatsoever for the couple of weeks the Olympic games take.

    The only positive thing to take away is that the Japanese can victimize themselves less as the “poor misunderstood, bullied nation” – you can always tell them “hey, you got the Olympics, so it can’t be that bad after all”. I’ll make good use of that starting today.

  • Human violations only in Japan? We know what Turkey has been promoting against ethnic and sexual minorities. And Spain has also his part on immigrants issue and deporting of people from airports without reasonable explanation. The three countries did not deserve the Olympics.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    I was not much elated or disappointed. Olympics is turning into commercialized sports entertainment, thanks to ill-guided meritocratic governance by the IOC. I really don’t care where the future games will be held because I feel so nauseated with the bidding practice that organizers throw billions of dollars to win the host. Where does all the money go!? Tokyo spent approximately $4.9 billion for the promotion. And the central government allotted some $230 million for supporting city’s bid. A way to pull public attention away from the issue which involves far more important stakes than international fame! I think Tokyo’s win will put Japanese society into Christopher Hayes’ “Twilight of the Elites” (2013). And that’s my congratulations to Tokyo!(which is my hometown. Well, whatever :P)

  • While I was not a supporter of Tokyo getting the bid, the die has been cast and I now wish the Olympic Committee the best of luck in hosting a global event that will welcome people to Japan from all corners of the globe. However, 2020 is still a long time away, and I hope that by this time the link between geopolitics and sports will be less of an issue. History has proved me wrong on that, but I hope we’ve moved past the era of the 70’s and 80’s when boycotts were the norm. Also, I hope that Japan is a welcoming host for this event, a concept that Japan didn’t not convince me of during the 2002 World Cup, especially with all the “foreign hooligan” paranoia.

  • Dude Says:
    “What are a few human rights violations (in Japan) when countries around Turkey are in civil war (Syria), near civil war (Egypt), or general disarray (Iraq).”

    Yes, in the current state, the current circumstances surely favor Japan. But, what kind of place will Japan be by 2020? I rarely see anyone in Japan standing up to the LDP’s real agenda and I doubt Japan’s attitude will change by 2020+. By 2020, I predict that Japan’s article 9 and article 96 would be long gone and territorial tensions will involve alot more than just coast guard ships. J-Nationalists might start going out of their way to harass and intimidate NJ which may eventually lead to violence.

    Right now, Japan is only “safe” and “prosperous” in present tense. Given all the millitant rah-rah that is going on in Japan right now, if the LDP actually gets there way, I feel that by 2020, Japan might get pulled into a war due to some over-patriotic misadventures in disputed territories.

    Or Japan could be in a really intense cold war with its neighbors by 2020 that, carrying out the 2020 Olympic games would be too dangerous. Kind of like the near war scenario with India and Pakistan a back in 2002 where embassies world wide started to evacuate their expats to avoid getting caught in a potential war.

    Maybe by 2020, Turkey might actually be safer than Japan, assuming the the middle reigon stabilizes by then. Between’s intensifying nationalism and threats from J-nationalists towards NJ and the LDP’s remilitarization of Japan, how safe will Japan be for NJ by 2020?

    How much more dangerous will the Zaitokukai and its offspring nationalist parties be by 2020? Can they really be trusted to refrain from violence after all those death threats they have made towards NJ in the not so distant past?

    Can one really enjoy the games by then when there is the constant worry that territorial tensions can start a hot war at any minute?

    The reason I think nationalism and the threat of war would increase 10 fold is because there is a possibility that “Abenomics” days a numbered. In order to avoid any bad rep, the LDP will try its hardest to intensify nationalism and make the public focus more intensely on problems from outside of Japan.

    If the LDP continues to aggressively race against time to “take back Japan” and no one stands against them, then Japan could be a really different place by 2020.

  • I thought Madrid was doing well, since 80% of sites were already built and that they tried to keep construction costs down.
    It is very expensive to prepare for an Olympics and usually only construction companies win.

    I wonder how much money Japan will have to pay for this. I thought Abe wanted to think about the Olympics and forget about Fukushima.

  • Like Debito and ‘Dude’ above, I was also not a fan of Tokyo being awarded these games. I actively lobbied Lausanne against it. If my memory serves me well, a goodly number of ordinary Japanese weren’t either. I think it was a case of the IOC choosing the ‘least worst option’ in light of the current and projected circumstances happening in and near the countries with competing bids. I am however, totally p*ssed at Abe, standing up in front of the world and saying that the radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant are “under control”. I don’t think it could be considered to be Japan-bashing to say that that, by any stretch, is a bare-faced lie.

    Pretty much everyone who will visit Tokyo for the Olympics will pass through Tokyo station, itself a major collection and distribution hub for residual radiation traipsed in on the feet of travelers, already at decidedly unsafe levels. (According to nuclear specialists Arnie Gundersen, Helen Caldicott and Chris Busby) It is reminiscent of the scene from Tom Clancy’s ‘Rainbow Six’ where a deadly infection is planned to be sent out to the world by the returning visitors to the Sydney Olympics. Except, this time, it will succeed. Sigh! Sho-ga-nai, neh?

  • I agree with post 5:

    Japan will be well on its way down the rankings of economies in Asia by 2020: Olympics cost host countries a fortune due to all the greasing of palms that goes on. Everyone needs to take their slice.

    With the modern Olympics, the rich elites of the host country tend to prosper while the state picks up the tab for construction. This fits into the philosophy of Abenomics perfectly. I see it as the last hurrah of a dying nation.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Appart from the security crackdowns (I remember garbage bins at railway stations in Saitama being sealed up during the G8 Summit in Hokkaido, or the Hooligan scaremongering leading up to the 2002 World Cup), I’m not looking forward to the gloating, ego-massaging, “re-discovering” of Japan, or the other tripe the media will throw at us on a daily basis leading up to the event.

  • I have made my dissenting opinions regarding Tokyo’s two Olympic bids here before, but as DR said, Japan was probably just the “least worst option.”

    We can all go on and on about the racial issues Japan does not address and sometimes still manifests as in Inose’s comments about Istanbul; Abe and the JOC can claim all they want that Fukushima is not or will not be a problem, but most of us know that the half-life of cessium and strontium which Fukushima has been and continues to leak is 30 years (cumulative to amount); we can decry that the JOC claims to have raised $5 billion of its own funds which was not included in the budget of Japan’s bid and if so where did that money come from & could they be using it better; we can question what Nagatacho would have done to pay for all the construction ongoing now that’s supposedly Olympics related if they had lost the bid today (all of this featured in morning news programs today); but the die is now cast.

    Abe and his ilk have gotten what they wanted: the sorely needed distraction of both the Japanese people and international community to more important issues that need to be focused upon. Remember, for all the talk of Madrid’s financial problems, Japan has a much larger debt.
    For now on until the opening ceremony, Japan will do what it absolutely does best both on the micro and macro levels—put its best face forward. We can definitely count on very few negative reports regarding racism, Fukushima, graft and gerrymandering at the political levels, budget deficits, etc. getting publicized in the years to come.

    If there one thing we can count on is Abe and the LDP riding this to forward their agenda. Old politicos and old money are the only ones who will gain from this. When those 2 weeks are over, and the high is gone, Japan Inc. will still be facing the problems it chose to ignore in the previous 7 leading up to the event.

    I can only shrug my shoulders and move on…perhaps to better pastures.

  • There are way too many things wrong about this decision, for Japan, for the world at large. A friend in Japan has just written to me, pointing out that the whole world will be forced, blackmailed really, to be complicit in supporting the same false image of a “safe and happy Japan” and Olympic site. Who wants to – or dares- to bad-mouth the Olympics and say pessimistic things? That wouldn’t fit in with the “utsukushii Nihon” slogans of the Olympic propaganda that will now be enforced at least for the next 8 years leading up to the event. Sheer torture – and mind control beyond anything that’s imaginable (and bearable).

    On a black-humour note, a series of wry questions to ponder, from

    While congratulations are certainly in order to the country which already has JPY1 quadrillion in debt so what is a few extra trillion here and there: it’s not like any of it will ever be paid back, we do have some questions:

    Will the swag bags include Geiger counters?
    Will foreign mutants be allowed to participate or only local, Fukushima grown ones?
    With gold and silver long since confiscated by the US government when 2020 rolls around, will the medals be made from Cesium, Plutonium and depleted Uranium?
    Will Godzilla light the Olympic flame?

    Naturally none of the above really matters since Japan will now be awarded something far more precious than Olympic Games: collateral, in the form of future construction, against which it can borrow even moar: because as Krugman will attest, 230% debt/GDP is for amateurs.

    Sic transit gloria mundi…

  • I feel totally nauseated by this decision and I wonder how many brown envelopes stuffed with cash were involved. Will the Olympics even be held in Tokyo in 2020 anyway?? The situation in Fukushima may well render it impossible. Tepco are bound to screw up the moving of the fuel rods somehow.

    Hope you’re having a well deserved break Debito??

  • In the meantime, a note by the BBC correspondent in Tokyo, spot on:

    [. . .]

    Economists say Tokyoites have good reason to be cheerful. There’s a lot of building to be done, and a lot of money to be spent.

    Like any Olympics, the centrepiece will be an extravagant stadium. Tokyo’s has been designed by British architect Zaha Hadid. Its futuristic curves fit nicely with Tokyo’s Olympic slogan: “Discover Tomorrow.”

    But it comes at a huge price: more than $1.5bn. That is just a small part of the $8bn that will be spent on refurbishing old stadiums and building new ones. So it’s all good news for Japan’s construction companies, who have long been suckled on the teat of government spending.


    But all this money going it to Tokyo may be less good news for other parts of the country, particularly the Tsunami ravaged north-east coast. In many areas re-construction has still barely begun.

    And then there are the people of Fukushima. A friend of mine who was born there could hardly contain her fury this week when she heard Japan’s Olympic committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda reassuring the IOC about Fukushima.

    “Fukushima is a long way away,” he said. “It is no threat to Tokyo.”

    “No threat to Tokyo maybe,” my friend said. “But what about the people who live in Fukushima?”

    About 100,000 people are still unable to go home because of the nuclear disaster that struck the Fukushima Daiichi plant more than two-and-a-half years ago. Many feel that the rest of Japan is already forgetting about them, and that the Japanese government only cares about getting the other nuclear power plants back on line.

    If there is one positive thing for the people of Fukushima to come from the Olympic decision, it is that the world is now watching even more closely to see what goes on there. The Japanese government has seven years to contain and neutralise the disaster properly.

    Full article available here:

    Abe & Co. are on a joy ride. Let’s see where it will end.

  • Netherlander says:

    Hi! Debito. Although I often visit your website, I rarely comment on your site, but I’ve always and will be a big supporter of you and your activities. However I just can’t get behind your opposition to Tokyo getting the Olympics. As a huge marathon and track fan, I think it’s great that the world’s greatest sports event will be held here. I really believe it can only apply positive pressure on various domestic issues including those you (we) fight for.

  • helmut schoeck says:

    I think it is terrible that Japanese society should benefit so much from non-Japanese. They don’t even want to sit next to us on the train, or rent an apartment to us, yet foreign dollars will be rolling in, and Japanese society will be portrayed as a marvelous, open society. Racists should not benefit from those they oppress.

    Thousands of foreigners went to Fukushima to help, and billions of dollars of economic aid flowed into Japan, yet foreigners are still routinely refused service at Japanese establishments to this day.

    I also think the supposed activists did not do enough to oppose this measure and should have been shouting from the rooftops against it. Yet, they chose to take a vacation on this issue.

  • The most disappointing hour in front of TV since I left Country of Rising Radiation. First of all, I watched 3 promo video from each country and only Japan was out of sync showing their great Japanese sportsmen/women. Two other countries showed their cities and its beauties. I counted on Spain or Turkey, but once Madrid was voted out I knew that Tokyo will be the one.Going through FB “friends” most of excitement if not all of them came from Foreigners who are in Japan or were expats there for just 2 years. They love it writing “Tokyo, Yes, Yes, Yes!!!” I think expat great life only 2 years can make someone very excited. Japanese friends did not comment at all and only a few on my wife`s FB side saying that they are not happy with decision. Guys, it happened and we cannot help, just you over there and those great tourists with amazing imagination about Japan must be ready for “High Alert” which have been running since 2011 because all those potential terrorists arrives, sealed garbage bins at the station, after immigration at Narita another check point by Police. Ishihara will be in his grave by this time but there are others too. If everything goes according to prediction than earthquake in Kanto may change IOC mind. Right now is all about money and business. We have again We Japanese and Others. The good thing about Tokyo 2020 is that GoJ may finally really do something about Fukushima. I think this was one of the reason Japan got it. They cannot keep promise, but now they must do something. As someone said above IOC is corrupted and Japan instead of spending money for victims of 311, they prefer to spend for Olympic games because otherwise nobody pay attention anymore to this country.
    shoganai ne! nihon katta!

  • Abenomics doesn’t work. Where’s this ‘third arrow’? Still not here yet? Just only discussions and ideas? Just like the J-Gov takeover of the Fukushima disaster; still only just a vague collection of soundbites with no action behind them. TEPCO must be livid at the thought that tax will be going into the Olympics construction, and not into their own pockets. And what of the people of Tohoku? Oh, I forgot, they will all now have ‘smiles on the faces of the children’, so that’s all right then.

    Of course, J-nationalism means that the Japanese populace and J-media won’t be able to question if the olympics should be a priority, or if it’s a smoke screen to cover all of the J-govs other shortfalls because that would be an ‘anti-Japanese’ attitude. Even should any Japanese wake up and see ‘the spectacle’ (whoa! now we literally will be having ‘bread and games’) for what it is, they will decide they don’t need the trouble of being labelled a ‘Korean cockroach’, or a ‘traitor’, or some such nastiness.

    Abenomics was supposed to distract people from slumping quality of life, now the Olympics will distract them from Abenomics! Just another placebo to avoid the drastic treatment that is really required.

    Still, 7 years is an awfully long time. Abe has made his comeback on a deeply right wing revisionist platform. I personally don’t think the Abenomics ‘irrational exuberance’ bubble will last that long. And then the nationalism will vent at those ‘evil outsiders’ ‘taking advantage of Japan’. And the closer we get to the olympics, the more the worlds media attention will focus on those social failings, the lack of progress in Tohoku, and daily radiation reports. I don’t think that this intensely over blown nationalistic Japanese pride that we are seeing these days, can keep up the tatemae. Roll on the J-politicians gaffes! You can bet that China and N. Korea will take advantage of the situation to ramp up the tension; fire rockets over Japan, sail/fly around the Senkakus, and now Abe will have to find a way to control his verbose nationalistic outburts in order to maintain Japan’s tatemae.

    Some construction companies that are feeling the bite now that the contracts are all settled (mired in indecision?) from the Tohoku disaster must have been fearing a small spike in business before the increase in the sales tax, followed by a long slump. They can sleep well tonight if they are in Kanto; there will be a seven year gravy train at the tax payers expense! (speaking of which, since the Japanese have been lumbered with a 20 year Special Reconstruction Tax for Tohoku, where is all the money coming from for the Olympics?).

    Over the next 7 years, taxes will increase, the value of the yen will drop, people will have less job security and lower salaries, and there will be fewer workers and increasing pensions and healthcare costs for the elderly to pay. And all the while National debt will continue to increase.

    And when the party is over, the Japanese will still have to clean up.

  • How much did Abe bribe the IOC? It was so obvious, seeing how cozy he was with the committee members.
    “I would also like to express my support to them. ” Yes indeed, financial support. The loser is the Japanese tax payer. Will there be an Olympics tax like there was in London?

    Interesting how the article says Spain’s high unemployment rate is a problem- why? You mean Spain couldnt afford to bribe the committee enough?

    I agree with DK and others above, my first thought on seeing the news was kind of cautiously optimistic along the lines of

    “Ok, 7 years to reduce the radiation levels, Tokyo!”

    I think this is the most powerful pithy comeback anyone needs, and the only thing I disagree with DK’s friend who thinks the rest of the world will be forced to be compliant with the image of “Safety Japan”.

    Just because Tokyo got the Olympics will not make the world forget the radiation.

  • Interesting postmodern take at the site (link above) regarding branding

    “The income from branding pays for much of the Olympics. Branding in the Tokyo Olympics is tainted by its association with Fukushima. Plus with reduced branding income and likely reduced attendance income from people with fears of Fukushima it could be a rather poor Olympics.”

    Although I suppose most of the audience will be Japanese, natch. Attendance will be almost compulsory, like employees of a certain car company having to drive their own company’s product.]

    Ah, company loyalty and its ownership of people. This is of course not capitalism, but CORPORATISM.

  • The BBC interviewed a lame Prof from one of the Universities. Lame in the ense that now he’s Prof he didn’t want to upset his nice “little earner”. So he danced around the issues being asked of him…but he made one tell remark which is not too difficult to read between the lines.

    He said (roughly):

    “In 1964 when last hosted the game there were just 20-30 taxi drivers that spoke English out of some 30,000 taxi’s. Let’s hope it improves by 2020.”

    Lame, but a subtle point about a society that has chnaged little in 50 years.

    Well… will this also lead to an influx or reigniting of learning English?….time to charge double for those already teaching. It’s to pay for your contribution into the Olympics neh?

    A RW-H from the BBC put, it, it shall shine a spot light on Japan more so now…lets hope so!

  • Cant wait for the march of the various countries athletes through the stadium at the opening ceremony .
    It will be two countries “NIPPON” & “GAIKOKU”

  • Peter McArthur says:

    I had confidently predicted that Tokyo didn’t stand a chance of winning. As one local oyaji put it, “It’s like sending out party invitations when you have a leaky toilet.”

    Cynicism aside, I wish Tokyo all the best …

    That’s what I wrote earlier. But on reflection, all I feel is concern. Why has the government of Japan added another burden to its already-ridiculously-overstretched public finances?

    Sorry to rain on the parade. 🙁

  • — Japan’s previous record of covering up Olympic expenses — having them burned. Clearly the IOC doesn’t worry about things like that. More clear is that they certainly benefited from the largesse, and once again, no doubt the strategy of largesse works in an organization as corrupt as the IOC. Courtesy of GB.


    Japan’s Sullied Bid
    TIME Magazine, Monday, Feb. 01, 1999,8599,2053970,00.html

    The officials who organized Nagano’s bid for the 1998 Winter Olympics were zealous about keeping track of expenses. As they directed a massive lobbying drive to win the Games for their town, they maintained careful records of it all–90 volumes to be exact, enough to fill 10 large cardboard boxes. Inside was a window on what it takes to woo members of the International Olympic Committee–luxury hotspring resorts, first-class air tickets and geisha, to name just a few entries.But it seems Nagano’s bidding committee was better at compiling records than preserving them. In 1992, after a citizen’s group demanded disclosure of the Olympic spending, the 90 volumes mysteriously disappeared. Their fate remained a mystery until the controversy over Salt Lake City’s bid for the 2002 Games erupted in December, prompting a bid committee member to come clean: I ordered them burned, said Sumikazu Yamaguchi, former vice secretary-general of the Nagano Olympic Bid Committee. I didn’t want the I.O.C. members to be uncomfortable.

    Now it’s Nagano’s turn to be uncomfortable. Just one year ago, Nagano was earning kudos for hosting a tightly run, feel-good Olympics, a welcome contrast to the crass commercialism of Atlanta two years earlier. Now a tackier side of its Olympic bid is emerging. After Yamaguchi went public two weeks ago, Nagano’s mayor delivered another bombshell, admitting his city paid $350,000 to a Swiss company to gather information on the I.O.C. Mayor Tasuku Tsukada had earlier denied Nagano had hired such an agency. It didn’t help that the agency in question was run by Goran Takacs, whose father Arthur Takacs is reported to be on close terms with the I.O.C.’s president, Juan Antonio Samaranch.

    The lid on Olympic corruption may have finally blown off in Salt Lake City. But the U.S. town learned back in the early ’90s that it had to play hardball to land the Games. At that time it was battling with Nagano for the 1998 spectacle. Competition between the two cities was so intense that the Japanese press dubbed it the yen-dollar war. Salt Lake City had superior facilities, more convenient venues–and better snow. But Nagano outgunned them. Fumes Kim Warren, an international-relations coordinator for the Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee: We were giving out saltwater taffy and cowboy hats, and they were giving out computers.

    I.O.C. members who came to inspect Nagano were put up in ritzy hotspring resorts, where they washed down expensive sushi with sake poured by kimono-clad geisha. They went home laden with souvenir gifts and expensive paintings. But red-carpet treatment for I.O.C. members wasn’t Nagano’s only tactic. The city’s lobbying effort reached a crescendo in the week before the final vote on the games took place in Birmingham in 1991, according to Masao Ezawa, representative of the Anti-Olympics People’s Network, which was the first to question Nagano’s Olympic spending. Nagano sent a squad of 1,000 to the English town, including performers dressed as ninja warriors and Japanese dancers, says Ezawa, who traveled to Birmingham to track the lobbying effort. The real schmoozing took place, he says, at an English estate where I.O.C. members were treated to elaborate banquets with sushi piled on miniature boats–a traditional serving style known as ikizukuri–all prepared by a chef brought in from London.

    Says Ezawa, who figures Nagano spent as much as $66 million on its bid (the city says $18 million): We got the Olympics because of money.But more than ninjas and sushi boats were needed to clinch the deal. Behind Nagano’s drive to win the games stood Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, one of Japan’s most influential businessmen. His Kokudo Corp., a sprawling empire of railroads, ski resorts and golf courses, stood to benefit nicely if Nagano won the games. For one thing, a government-built bullet train line designed to speed visitors from Tokyo to Nagano greatly improved access to his ski resorts in the region. As head of the Japan Olympic Committee, Tsutsumi played a key role in gathering backers for Nagano’s bid. Now Tsutsumi is under fire for rounding up millions of dollars in corporate contributions to help build an Olympic museum in Switzerland while the bidding race was going on. The timing was totally coincidental, maintains Tetsuo Oyama, a spokesman for the J.O.C. The donation would have happened even if Nagano hadn’t been bidding.

    There is no joy in Nagano these days. The little city in the Japanese alps got the tone just right last year, from the sumo wrestlers piggy-backing smiling youngsters in snow suits at the opening ceremony to small details like the little souvenir origami cranes for the athletes. But in its scramble to win the games, Nagano authorities seem to have forgotten about the rights of average citizens, critics say. Just as speaking out became impossible under Japan’s military governments in the 1930s, criticism of the games became taboo in Nagano, says Ezawa, who makes his living as a weaver. Once a voice crying in the wilderness, Ezawa today is deluged with interview requests. Says Sister Monica Nakamura, an activist Catholic nun helping foreign workers in Nagano: At last, people are finally listening to him.


  • — Terrie’s Take on Tokyo 2020:

    * * * * * * * * * T E R R I E ‘S T A K E * * * * * * *
    A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.

    General Edition Sunday, Sep 08, 2013, Issue No. 725
    BACK ISSUES, or,

    Dragging ourselves out of bed at 03:00am this morning, we made our way
    to an entrepreneur get together at the Wired Cafe in Roppongi Hills.
    Three o’clock was when the announcement ceremony started for the
    decision of the International Olympic Committee on where the 2020
    games would be held. As is now common knowledge, Tokyo is the “winner”
    and there were certainly scenes of jubilation across the capital
    earlier today as people felt that Tokyo’s turn had come.

    The entrepreneurs, led by Globis’ Yoshihito Hori, gathered partly
    because of a growing pride in their nation, encouraged by PM Shinzo
    Abe’s own vision for a resurgent Japan. And partly because as
    entrepreneurs they know that this could be the chance to build
    business and get past the tight market of the last 5 years. Their
    general expectation is that the Olympics and the civic, national, and
    private investment that will go into them will heighten those animal
    spirits that Abe keeps referring to, even though he seems to be
    speaking to a nation of basically happy herbivores.

    Watching the announcement ceremony and the jubilation of our Japanese
    colleagues this morning, we were struck by the fact that Tokyo, by
    good fortune and hard work won the 2020 games. It was the least bad
    choice of the three candidates, although the Fukushima radiation leaks
    caused some concerns at the IOC. The Japanese like the word “gaman”
    (perseverance, patience) and certainly winning these games was a
    matter of gaman. This is the second straight time Tokyo had bid for
    the games, with all the expenses and stress that come with such bids,
    and it’s the fourth time overall for the nation. Previously Nagoya bid
    for the 1988 games and Osaka for the 2008 ones. The first two failed
    for a number of geopolitical reasons, but the previous Tokyo bid was
    sunk partly because it was too close to the China Olympic games and
    partly because more than half the population opposed the idea —
    something which was picked up on by the IOC when they visited during
    the selection process. If we recall correctly, the committee members
    were greeted by people demonstrating on the streets against the games,
    a rare sight in Japan.

    But this time around has been completely different. While there are
    still many people who object to the massive spending that the Olympics
    will entail, the fact that PM Abe’s government is so solidly
    controlling media attention means that any opposition is easily
    drowned out by a chorus of more “patriotic” voices. Perhaps this is
    conditioned by the fact that everyone pretty much knows that with the
    onset of higher consumption taxes, morale is going to tank. So an
    Olympic games is just what the doctor ordered. And, anyway, the cost
    of the games will be less than two day’s spending by the Japanese

    The Tokyo government says that it has already set aside a fund of
    about JPY400bn which is expected to pretty much cover the JPY380bn
    construction cost of the games. They say this is possible due to the
    efficient reuse of existing facilities and this argument was certainly
    better received than were Istanbul’s estimated US$19bn construction
    cost or Madrid’s dubious financial credibility.

    But we wonder if JPY400bn is all the games will cost? Looking at
    previous Olympics, it is uncertain whether even those that say they
    turned a profit (the Los Angeles Olympics, for example) really did.
    Various post-games reviews appear to show that organizers took
    advantage of off-the-books government grants and corporate largesse,
    which while reducing red ink for the Olympics themselves also diverted
    funds from some other use in the community. For example, in London,
    the loss of funds to the Olympics is now being contested in the public
    arena by a number of major charities.

    Then, those Olympics that were officially in the red, such as the 1976
    Montreal Olympics, are well documented and show that this huge event
    can have huge implications for the city holding it. We came across a
    handy list of before-and-after cost estimates for Olympic cities since
    2002, and it appears that none of them came in on budget:
    1. 2002, Salt Lake City: 250% over budget. US$800m -> US2bn
    2. 2004, Athens: 240% over budget. US$6.3bn -> US$15bn
    3. 2006, Turin: 170% over budget. US$2.1bn -> US$3.6bn
    4. 2008, Beijing: budget unknown -> final cost US$40bn
    5. 2010, Vancouver: 420% over budget. US$600m -> US$2.5bn+
    6. 2012, London: 370% over budget. US$4.3bn -> US$16.6bn

    Given this, we see no reason to think that the Japanese will be any
    more competent in managing costs than, say, Canada and the UK. Indeed,
    given the history of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and its ability
    to vaporize large amounts of money without accountability (e.g.,
    Ishihara’s Shinginko, which took tax payers for billions of dollars),
    we’d hazard a guess that the Tokyo Olympics will eventually run to at
    least 3x-4x over budget. This will be on direct operations and won’t
    include the costs to the nation such as extra police, security
    measures, hosting visiting dignitaries, etc. Indeed, you could also
    add in the JPY47bn that Abe pledged as national assistance to clean up
    Fukushima, since it is unlikely the government would have moved on
    this if their international prestige wasn’t at stake.

    If you want to take a look at the hidden costs of an Olympics event,
    take a look at this very entertaining account about London, written by
    journalist Mike Wells. You can read it at We include the following
    snippet because it has echoes of how things here could be perceived as

    “…The organizational model of the London 2012 games is the same our
    government uses to manage the nation – a foundation of compacted BS
    which provides a platform on which a network of well-connected
    vampires schmooze, positioning themselves to pick up lucrative
    government contracts. The mainstream mass media, up to its neck in the
    same compacted BS, almost completely fails in its duty to monitor,
    investigate, and inform, whilst a merry-go-round of
    self-congratulations and industry awards is backed up with knighthoods
    for the worst offenders…”

    Well, we did say he was entertaining…

    Besides the “It won’t cost that much” argument of cities bidding for
    the right to host the games, another selling point often used in bids
    is how the Olympic venues will contribute to the development of sport
    well after the 28-day blow-out. Generally the hope is that nice
    stadiums will inspire young hopefuls to greater efforts. Sounds nice
    in theory, but in fact there was a study done in the UK which found
    that there is NO evidence to suggest that hosting an Olympic games
    leads to an increase in the participation of physical or sporting
    activities by the citizens of that country. Instead, those who were
    already playing sports enjoyed the improved facilities post-games,
    while those who watched the games continued to watch.

    Our take is that although the 2020 games will be much more expensive
    for Tokyo and its tax payers than initially estimated. But the mere
    fact that the world will be looking our way will galvanize the
    government into providing something of value and help turn the 2020
    games into something that all Japanese can be proud of. This probably
    will have a salutary effect on the economy — just in time to help us
    recover from the hit of the increased consumption tax. As a timeline,
    historically other Olympic cities have experienced their peak economic
    benefits 3-4 years before the games, which for Tokyo means 2016 and
    2017. This is when real estate is being purchased, buildings and other
    infrastructure are being built, and expectations are not yet being
    impacted by reality. We suppose it’s better for this construction
    spending to happen in the capital rather than way out in the boondocks
    on bridges to nowhere as it is now.

    However, once the games get underway, if the lessons of London are
    anything to go by, then there will not only be a depressed market for
    tourism and domestic consumption in the 1-2 years after the games, but
    possibly during them as well. Apparently about one third of London’s
    hotels had empty rooms during the Olympics, mainly due to price
    gouging turning travelers off and partly because the London Organising
    Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) block booked 40,000 rooms for
    officials and their families, only to dump a large number back on the
    market again shortly before the games started. Tokyo has about 95,000
    hotel rooms compared to London’s 101,000 — so the London experience
    will be quite pertinent for Tokyo.

    For the time being, though, we’re happy for our Japanese colleagues,
    and hope that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hires some good
    project managers so as to try to bring the Olympics in for at least no
    more than JPY750bn, and without hemorrhaging that cash into the wrong
    pockets as allegedly happened with Shinginko. We also fervently hope
    that they will leave the green spaces of Yoyogi Park, including the
    athletics oval next to NHK, out of the building plans. Readers may
    recall that we sounded the alert on this once before when the Ishihara
    government was planning to build over that oval as part of their 2016
    games bid.


  • Two more points about why Madrid lost.

    The first has been reported in the German “Der Spiegel”, which is that very many people are still unhappy about Juan Antonio Samaranch’s presidency of the IOC. His son has pushed Madrid’s bid, and that was rather unpopular:

    The main point is:
    “Besonders für Samaranch Junior war die Abfuhr von Madrid in der ersten Runde ein Schock. Der Sohn des zwei Jahrzehnte das IOC dominierenden Juan Antonio Samaranch hatte zu plump mit seinem Vater geworben. Das war einer von vielen Gründen für die Niederlage. Denn die Entscheidung gegen Madrid war in Teilen auch ein Votum gegen alte Netzwerke. Im IOC sind längst neue Machtstränge entstanden.”

    “Madrid losing in the first round was a shock especially for Samaranch junior. The son of Juan Antonio Samarach, who dominated the IOC for two decades, did a very clumsy job bragging about his father. That was one of the many reasons for defeat, because the decision against Madrid was also a decision against old networks. In the IOC, new strings of power have long developed.”

    Full article in German in:

    Also, the Spanish “El Pais” mentiones a doping scandal in Spain:

  • I now wonder if we gave Abe too much credit for being a person who’s driven by (malicious) ideas. What if it’s mainly just personal greed and the conquest for kickback money from contractors?
    In this construction state, the Olympics bid means seven consecutive years of winning the lottery jackpot – more money spend on construction means more kickbacks into the pockets of the heads of the oligarchy. They just needed the right project for the general public to get behind and give their savings to. And the Olympics might just be the most lucrative project in this sense. Longer lasting, more expensive, and more prestigious than all the “Sky trees”, “Maglevs”, and “Kabuki-zas” combined.
    Oh and the taxi drivers not being able to speak foreign languages, it would be better for Japan not to change a thing about it. As I told here before, out of the five or six times I rode a taxi in Tokyo, I was told twice what a great man “Hitoraa” was when I answered to the inevitable question “from Amerika??” and answered “doitsu”. That could backfire quickly.
    But Japan will manage. Top down, of course.

  • Debito #26,

    A very timely reminder of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics disaster. I take the liberty of adding another reminder: Section 5 is particularly revealing:

    5. Olympic Fascism

    A. Do-it-yourself Censorship

    Self-censorship has hindered reporting on the Olympics. Early in the bidding process, the Shinano mainichi, Nagano’s major daily newspaper, published an article titled “Let’s bring the Winter Olympics to Nagano.” The Shinano Mainichi has helped mold public opinion about the Games in cooperation with the government and industry. They did not inform the public about potential problems of hosting the Olympics or the financial and environmental costs. Instead of playing the role of public watchdog, they acted more like an obedient child.

    Other local newspapers and TV stations were also influenced by NAOC.They have not informed the public well about the Olympics. NAOC controls the mass media. The Shinano Mainichi is in charge of NAOC’s information bureau, and information deemed “inconvenient” to NAOC rarely reaches the public.

    NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting corporation, has a special interestin the Nagano winter Olympics because it an opportunity to spread “high vision” television. They began broadcasting Olympic-related programs (all positive) even before the Lillehammer Games. NHK, TVAsahi, the Asahi Newspaper have already set up camp in Nagano. It’s like a gold rush.

    B. NAOC and the management of public perception

    Neither the prefectural assembly not the Nagano City council has ever held a discussion of the enormous financial burden of the Olympics orof the repayment plan. Only one councilor, Imai Junichiro, openly opposed having Nagano host the Olympics. He was harassed and his comments stricken from the record. From the LDP to the Communist Party, the local politicians have agreed to support the Olympics. Dissent is suppressed, just as it was by the military government 50 years ago.

    The idea that Nagano people have longed for years to host the Olympics has been pushed. The government and media have created an atmosphere in which speaking against the Games is taboo. Labor unions, children’s groups, PTAs, women’s associations, chambers of commerce and other civic groups have been mobilized by NAOC for Olympic activities. Many people feel pressured to buy Olympic badges costing 1,000 yen because it is expected at their association or workplace. The government has also collected signatures in support of the Games. Oddly the number of signatures collected exceeded the prefectural population. There has been a great effort to recruit volunteers, and NAOC will sometimes register an entire company.

    Well, if this is anything to go by, it’s not hard to imagine how the already outrageous degree of media manipulation, censorship and cover-up prevalent in Japan will increase exponentially over the next 7 years leading to the Olympics.

    Just thinking about it makes me shudder.

  • Of course, sooner or later, someone’s going to have a ‘lightbulb moment’, and realize how deflated national pride will be when the Chinese are cleaning up the medal table, and standing on the majority of Tokyo 2020 podiums…..
    Cue some serious head scratching, and a 2019 ratcheting up of tensions in order to provoke a Chinese boycott.

  • I just realized, at the 2012 olympics, S. Korea got 13 gold medals, Japan only got 7. I guess they’ll have to give Hashimoron a poke, see if they can reignite the sex-slaves issue, and get S. Korea to boycott too! Going to be a lot of empty seats in 2020.

  • One thing that might not have occurred to many is that the Olympics come with the Disabled Olympics. Not just the athletes who with modern prosthetics look and move almost normally, but others with more special needs. They are accompanied by carers who’s life is taken up with the fight to ensure the rights are not overlooked, and are not adverse to making a scene or getting publicity for their cause. Not as I understand it the Japanese way.

  • Bitter Valley says:

    Really excellent news for Tokyo and Japan, I hope, and very much looking forward to it.

    I know the cash injection will go into the pockets of the big corporations, but any vote of confidence in Japan and Tokyo as an advanced city capable of putting on an excellent games is excellent news. Really looking forward to the (somewhat manufactured but also genuine) positive energy! Same sort of caveats as Terry Lloyd, but really looking forward to it!

  • Markus, just wondering why when some idiot says what a great guy Hitler was, you do not get upset with them and say “baka ja nai no?”

    Why must the NJs also gaman in silence but thin skinned Japanese abroad can call racism or cultural insensitivity at the slightest less than glowingly positive reporting of anything to do with Japan?

    I expect we will no doubt soon encounter something along these lines to do with the Olympics. We noted here before that Japan wants to control the Hiroshima/Nagasaki narrative. But what about Fukushima, although this is a different kettle of fish as its not a war atrocity (unless one regards it as one Japan has inflicted on themselves and the rest of the region/world) and it is still ongoing?

    I think if enough people link Japan’s 2020 Olympics with Fukushima (which 99% of western comments are doing so on e.g. the hedgezero site) and equate it with lunacy or a health hazard, someone’s fragile ego is going to get bruised, resulting in accusations of Japan bashing.

    I love it (not) when Japan tries to hold the rest of the world to Japanese standards, e.g. what is taboo in Japan should be taboo in the rest of the world too. It is like China demanding respect and to be listened to in international relations because it is old and big.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    It’s interesting that taxi drivers and their level of English (or rather, lack thereof) has been brought up. This was exactly one of the points the Japanese media were using to criticize Beijing’s hosting the 2008 Olympics a few months before the event.

    A case of “Pot, meet Kettle”?

  • @Baudrillard (#35) That’s my urge of course but I just say “ah so desu ka”, whip out my phone and pretend I’m busy. No point in arguing with taxi drivers, especially not in Japan. What do I have to gain from it? Back home I’d of course tell them to stop and get out of the car immediately, but even the most nut-job rightwing taxi driver there would never dare to say something along those lines.

  • Winning Gold at Dressage Doesn't Count says:

    Here’s what I don’t get.

    The United States pounds a testing ground in Nevada with nuclear weapons, including an extremely controversial series of 29 detonations in 1957 that releases more radiation into the atmosphere than any previous series. This is then followed by 37 detonations in 1958. Then in 1960 the Winter Olympics is held in Squaw Valley, California, some 350-400 kms as the crow flies from the testing ground, and as far as I can tell, nobody raises an eyebrow about the health of the athletes.

    Britain was conducting above ground tests on the Australian continent (admittedly quite a distance away from Melbourne) the same year as the 1956 Olympics. There was no concern about the athletes’ health.

    The first Chinese nuclear test set off at Lop Nor in 1964 was probably designed to spoil everyone’s fun at the Tokyo Olympics that were being staged at the time, but, perhaps reasonably given the distance, people did not think of the effect of radiation on the ceremonies. However, the United States had been testing its weapons willy nilly around and over the Pacific throughout the 1960s, Japanese people had been irradiated by these tests, there was concern in both the popular Japanese media and the popular culture (Godzilla!) about the effect of these tests on the health of Japanese, and yet no one seemed to care about the poor athletes then either.

    The 1979 Three Mile Island accident prompted widespread fears about radiation that were not assuaged for some time. The following year the Winter Olympics were held at Lake Placid, NY, some 350-400 kms away. Again, scant, if any, concern.

    No Olympics in 1986, but the sporting tournaments that took place in Europe were not cancelled due to fears, which were rife, of radiation in the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl. Moreover, the team that won the 1986 European (football) Cup Winners Cup was FC Dinamo Kiev, a rather ironic testimonial of the health of Ukrainian athletes.

    Moreover, there haven’t been any reports of Olympians suffering from the diseases one might associate with radiation sickness in any of these cases.

    And suddenly, when Japan wins an Olympics almost ten years out from a nuclear accident which, according to a major UN report, is “unlikely” to have any health risks for even those poor souls who lived near the plant during the disaster and even who worked within it, we are supposed to assume that all the athletes are going to sprout extra limbs, keel over, coughing up blood, or, in years to come, pay for the horrible decision to hold the Olympics in radiation central, Japan, with their health and/or their lives.

    How does that work again?

  • The Olympics are big business and Tokyo is a big business city. I think Tokyo is an incredible place and they accomplished what they set out to do. That said, it doesn`t mean people will come. And if Fukushima has any other major setbacks expect huge international backlash. 7 years down the road is a long and unknown time.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Winning Gold at Dressage Doesn’t Count makes some good points, however, I would answer his final question with “Because Japan is special”.

  • showed how Japan seeks to control the narrative when it sees itself as the victim (BBC TV’s ‘QI’ Hiroshima segment). Now Japan is doing it again!

    French satirical magazine takes a poke at Fukushima/2020 Olympics, and the J-gov claims that this is an insult to the victims of the disaster!

    Well, trying to force the world to conform to Japanese standards of tatemae would be fine, except I suspect that the (depending on the sources you read) 100,000-300,000 displaced disaster victims unable to return home would (wouldn’t you expect?) find the whole ‘please give us the olympics- it’ll make the children of Tohoku smile’ routine to have been obscenely insulting.

    Anyway, sine Sick-note PROMISED that Fukushima was ‘under control’ (did he mean ‘under-controlled’?) and promised that it will ‘never’ have an effect on Tokyo, you can, IMHO, forgive the French publication in question since todays JT had the following article;

    So, the Chief of #1 plant is happy about the Olympics? Should be, Sick-notes just told the IOC he’s going to give TEPCO another half a billion dollars of the tax-payers money (that will buy A LOT of duct tape for those leaky pipes). But hang on! Check the headline- radiation has doubled! Since Monday! Read a little more…..’4,200-becquerel sample from Sunday’! Hold up! That’s a fifteen fold increase from Sunday! Great reporting from the lapdog media (sorry, I mean ‘watchdog’). Way to play down a crisis guys!

    So, in light of this, the French gag is spot on, and Abe clearly lied to the IOC, right? I think so. But anyway, surely the French paper can just do what Ishihara used to do, what Inose did after his disparaging anti-muslim comments about Istanbul earlier this year, what Hashimoto did after his korean sex-slave denials, and what Aso did after his let’s look up to the Nazis moment; regret that the actions were misunderstood, and make a retraction. Job done, no hard feelings, why all the upset? No?

    While I’m at it, noticed that two Japanese tourists were attacked, one killed, in Istanbul at the weekend.
    Honestly very sad.

    This week a Briton was shot dead in Turkey.

    The Japanese article makes a point of saying that at this time their is no evidence to suggest that the Japanese tourists murder was connected to Tokyo beating Istanbul to the olympics. The article about the Briton being killed makes to claims of links to the olympics either (see my point?). In fact, why doesn’t the article about the poor Japanese tourist being murdered also clearly state that ‘there is no evidence to link this to Tokyo Gov. Inose’s insulting comments about Istanbul’?

    Japan has switched it’s national ‘victim mode’ ON (if it ever was OFF). I don’t think that they can take another 7 years of being hypersensitive and paranoid, by 2020 the Japanese will have convinced themselves that EVERYBODY is out to get them!
    Maybe Japan will be able to claim another first; 1940 Tokyo olympics cancelled due to the war, 2020 cancelled due to Fukushima anxiety. Tokyo, the twice cancelled Olympic city?

  • Yay, Japan has a new minister for the Olympics, the ultra-rightist and historical revisionist Shimomura Hakubun (current minister of education, culture, science & technology):

    Considering his… er… authoritarian views on a number of sensitive issues (e.g;;, very soon it won’t be unwarranted to speak of Olympic fascism (see comment #30 above).

    Just wait and see.

  • @dressage

    I wasn’t aware that there were any epidemiological studies on Olympic athletes and radiation. Could you point me in the direction of your data?

  • Winning Gold at Dressage Doesn't Count says:

    >I wasn’t aware that there were any epidemiological studies on Olympic athletes and radiation.

    There aren’t any, as far as I know. But that is kind of the point.

  • Hi Debito:

    Have a look here:

    Gov’t aims to complete national Ainu museum for 2020 Olympics

    アイヌ政策推進会議:「象徴空間、20年に」 五輪に合わせ政府方針

    On the one hand, it’s about time the Ainu get the recognition they deserve.

    Yet on the other hand, focusing on the Ainu creates a cultural blind spot:

    “The project aims to end discrimination against Ainu people in Japan and create a society where people of different ethnicities can live together in harmony.”

    Wait, hold on – why stop with just the Ainu? Why not end discrimination against *all* people in Japan and create a society where people of different ethnicities can live together in harmony?

    My fear is that the GOJ will use the Olympics to politicize the Ainu at the expense of other NJ (e.g. Zainichi Koreans, immigrants).


  • Fukushima plant situation ‘not under control’: TEPCO official

    Abe and GoJ lies again. I hope but it’s rather unlikely IOC would take back games from Tokyo and give to Madrid after all. However IOC guys probably got s lot under the table so it’s unlikely to change their minds even though tourists are at risk.
    Besides, there was news that Japanese so called army had already antiterror excercise to be ready for 2020. Hahaha…who is this potential terrorist.
    Oh! by the way, there is promo video on YouTube with kindly foreigners


  • I wonder wther the report about Qatar and their poor treatment of workers will shine a similar light on Tokyo/Japan now they have the 2020 games?

    “..Qatar 2022 World Cup organisers say they are “appalled” by the findings of an investigation into the treatment of migrant workers in the country…”

    — Maybe. But I very much doubt the IOC will be as judgmental as FIFA is being here, since the IOC joins the Japanese elites at the trough.


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