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2020 Tokyo Olympic Pressures and Potentials

2013/09/10

The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics have become a banner of excitement for people all over Japan to rally behind. Bringing new financial, cultural, and hopefully environmental stimulus to meet the demands of the Olympic juggernaut. Exciting tourism, infrastructure, and of course English education as well. "The Olympics are coming to town" is a great way to connect the lives of your students to English in a very real way, it's also quite a 'business chance'.

Hosting the 2020 games is predicted to yield over 40 trillion yen and create more than 150,000 jobs relating to tourism, construction, and consumer goods. Tokyo, which is home to 35 million people, has been in need of major overhauls to it's aging infrastructure for some time now, and although Japan has a national debt that is twice the size of it's economy, Tokyo itself has a $4.5 billion "reserve fund" for infrastructure projects to upgrade the city. Which means inconvenient construction for the next several years, but hopefully a greener, sleeker, and more efficient city for the future.

Surveys show that 70 percent of Tokyoites favored the bid to host the 2020 Olympics with more people jumping on board now that the decision is final. The 2020 Olympiad is the 3rd time Tokyo has been chosen to host the prestigious events. The 1964 Olympics are often celebrated as a golden age in Japanese history, marking Japan's emergence from the damages of World War II. The outbreak of which forced the 1940 Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled after war began with Japan invading China.

So far China has been conservative and critical in it's acknowledgement of Japan's selection as the Olympic host. Using this extra international focus as an opportunity to address their continued anger with the Japanese unwillingness to accept responsibility for atrocities during World War II, asking how "a country which has been paying high tribute to brutal war criminals for years is qualified to host such an event that advocates peace and harmony?"

Relations between Japan and it's neighbors have plunged since last year due to territorial disputes, and lingering anger over brutal occupations during World War II. Tensions are also on the rise for China and Russia against United States assertions towards war in Syria, many people are wondering if we are facing a World War III already. The 1982 comic book and animated film 'Akira' predicted 30 years ago that the 2020 Olympic games would be held in Tokyo, and also predicted a World War before that, so hopefully that remains science-fiction.

The truth is that there are still plenty of non-fictional problems to worry about, such as the nuclear reactors in Fukushima contaminating the Pacific ocean with radioactive material every day. "You're in safe hands with Tokyo!" was one of the rallying cries for Olympic selection, and in response to international pressure to show that Japan is serious about safety and the environment, the country has opted to construct a 3 billion yen, mile-long ice wall to prevent further radioactive contamination by piping super-chilled coolant underground to freeze the area surrounding the dangerous reactors. "Let me assure you the situation is under control. It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo." promised Prime Minister Abe to the International Olympic Committee.

Many are hoping that hosting the Olympic games can help revitalize Japan from economic stagnation, and help address the disasters of Tohoku in 2011. In any case, the increased international pressure and stimulus is a beacon of light on the horizon for people in Japan to embrace the future and stand up to the challenge of internationalization and world peace that the Olympic games represent. The decision has been made, so now it is time to ensure that these games are the very best they can be for Japan and the world, and I'm not just talking about gold medals!

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