News / Arts & Entertainment

Tokyo Gears Up for 2020 Olympics

Tokyo Gears Up for 2020 Olympicsi
X
October 19, 2013 1:41 PM
Construction already is beginning on the venues that will host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the Japanese capital, there is much excitement over hosting the Games, but also some concerns.
Henry Ridgwell
Construction already is beginning on the venues that will host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. There is much excitement over hosting the Games, but also some concerns.

The scene is the annual inter-school sports festival inside Japan’s National Stadium, central Tokyo. For the hundreds of young hopefuls, it’s an early taste of the adrenaline and glory that the 2020 Olympics will bring to their city.

Among them is 14-year-old Mousei Saeki. He said he really wants to come and see the games because there will be many great athletes coming from over the world.

This stadium hosted the 1964 Olympic Games - just as Japan’s economy was beginning its post-war boom.

And it is economics that played a big part in Tokyo winning the right to host the Games once again, says Tokyo 2020 CEO, Masato Mizuno.

“City Tokyo has a hosting fund of US$4.5 billion. This is in the bank already, so we can build all the facilities,” said Mizuno.

Work on demolishing the old 1964 stadium already has begun. In its place will be a futuristic new stadium.

Polls show 92 percent of Japanese people support Tokyo 2020. But mixed with the patriotic pride, there are some doubts.

Sixty-four-year-old taxi driver Jou Iwasaki remembers the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He said that for young people, the Olympics give hopes and dreams, and that’s good. He said at first, though, he was really against it, citing the precious green spaces that will be lost in the area. He also mentioned the high costs that will be required to maintain the facilities.

Concerns over the cost of the Games prompted activists to launch the group "Hangorin" - literally, anti Olympic rings. Spokespeople Tetsuo Ogawa and his colleague, who gave his name as Sakura, explain.

Ogawa said in every country that has hosted the Olympics, the city always has had to rebuild, and only a small part of the population benefits.

Sakura added that two years after the earthquake and tsunami, people continue to live in temporary housing. The government won’t spend any money on them but they’re going to spend money on the Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Mizuno said, however, that income from the Olympics will benefit all of Japan - including the tsunami-hit Tohoku region.

“Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will make such a big economical effect. Directly we said US$30 billion economical effect, and then also 150,000 direct employment,” he said.

Concerns over the stability of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant threatened to derail Tokyo’s Olympic bid - prompting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to address the International Olympic Committee to assure them of its safety.

Mizuno insists Fukushima will not cast a shadow over Tokyo 2020. “The government promised to solve the problems. So we believe in the prime minister’s word. So then also, records show that the level of radiation in Tokyo is very stable and low.”

The hope of the city and its people is that the Fukushima crisis will be long out of the headlines by the time the opening ceremony lights up the new stadium for the Games.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: gig from: California
October 22, 2013 10:37 PM
I don't understand why WOC admit the holding up the Olympic games in Japan. That country does not prove the radioacive-proof evironment?


by: Anonymous
October 22, 2013 6:15 PM
Tokyo is a concern let's handle it appropreately and pick a different megacity!!


by: Anonymous
October 22, 2013 6:13 PM
My response to Tokyo being picked for 2020 Olympics is concerning. I believe the nuclear plant meltdown can and will affect the Olympics. I believe there could be another megacity we can use other than Tokyo

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."