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

US States Where Women Work for Free

Women earn less than men in all 50 states More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows Fight to Death Against IS

In wide-ranging interview, Fuad Masum describes new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”