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What’s Next For Japan? LIFE IN A POST-OLYMPIC SOCIETY

Rina Oba, News Writer

Protesters in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57395010)

Just a few months ago, the first Olympics under the pandemic took place in Japan. With countless issues surrounding the people involved in the Japanese Olympic Committee, it would certainly go down in Olympics history. The expense was huge, marking one of the most controversial summer games ever. Now that it's over, let’s look at the aftermath, and how it impacted the country.

Even though it did not go as planned, Japan's objective was to restore the Japanese economy, following the life changing earthquake / tsunami / nuclear disaster which happened in 2011. Furthermore, Japan’s scheme also focused on the economic disparity between the urban and rural areas and to balance the wealth throughout the country. Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated that its legacy will generate over $128 billion, and 2 million jobs. However, the impacts of COVID-19 changed many of its original plans due to spectators being banned for the first time in history. Moreover, many of the official sponsors resigned including Suntory, and the parent company of Orangina, and Jim Beam bourbon. These companies were planning to be sponsors, but by considering the enormous cost, they amended their decisions. In fact, the cost was estimated to be at least $15.4 billion in which the COVID pandemic added $2.8 billion on its price tag. Other Japanese leading companies such as Panasonic, NTT, Fujitsu, NEC, Keidanren, and the employer’s association have chosen to forgo the opening ceremony, due to the pandemic.

Impacts on the society

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, or more accurately the 2021 Tokyo Olympics was an unprecedented one. There are impacts in the Japanese economy including both advantages and disadvantages. First of all, if you take a look at the positive impacts, the TV industry can be taken as one example. Owing to the decision of banning spectators, there was a 30% increase in the TV sales industry. Another example can be the construction industry. All of the buildings of the facilities, hotels, refurbishments of them, transportation facilities, and the urban development of commercial facilities were built by the construction industries. The main stadium was particularly praised for its design and structure. Thus, the construction industry is another industry that is being spotlighted. Furthermore, the performances of the athletes have influenced the society which encouraged people to pursue athletics. Yuto Horigome, a Japanese skateboarding gold medalist is one of the athletes who has been gathering the attention of many Japanese. This will presumably promote people to stay active even during the pandemic. Womenomics, which is the idea that gender equality, especially when women are empowered, will promote economic profits became popular through this Olympics as well. This is primarily because of the performance of female athletes. If you take a look at the Japanese medalists, more than half of them are female.

Impacts on the Japanese government

However, the games have left a scar on the approval rate of the Japanese government. Since the initiation of the preparation, there were many issues surrounding the government. The government’s inept response to the pandemic has been foreshadowing this approval rate. Since the start of the 2021 year after the Olympics were postponed, the scandals of the organizers have led them to resign from the Olympic games. In February, Yoshiro Mori, a Japanese politician stepped down from the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, because of his remarks which discriminated against women. In March, Hiroshi Sasaki, the creative director of the Olympics quit due to his comments indicating a plus-size comedian as an “Olympig”. Just before the opening ceremony, Keigo Oyamada, who was responsible for the music in the ceremony, was exposed for bullying his disabled classmates during his childhood. Moreover, Kentaro Kobayashi, a former comedian was caught making jokes of the holocausts in his past performance. As you can tell, this is a total chaos. The Japanese government was decried from all over the world. The government approval rate plummeted from 31% to 28% before and after the Olympics. Above data suggests the fear and skepticism the Japanese citizens have against the government as well as the fact that they are taxpayers dealing with the multibillion-dollar bill.

Impacts on the COVID situation in Japan

Allegedly, there is no scientific evidence, however the Olympic games might have worsened the COVID situation in Japan. The Olympic games were held under a state of emergency, and Japan has been unsuccessful in controlling the COVID cases after the games.

Taking everything into consideration, the controversial 2021 Olympic games offered economic benefits and deficits, however the damage on the reputation of the government was inevitable. It has also proven the impracticability of an absolutely safe Olympic games under the COVID pandemic. The 2021 Olympic games which overcame many problems will certainly be a memorable one. How will the next Olympic games go?

Works cited

  • https://time.com/6089274/tokyo-olympics-economic-benefits/
  • https://theconversation.com/tokyo-2020-how-japans-moment-of-glory-has-become-a-millstone-for-the-economy-164912
  • https://thediplomat.com/2021/08/japan-looks-back-at-the-tokyo-olympics/
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/06/business/tokyo-olympics.html
  • https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2021/07/20/tokyo-olympics-2021-what-will-be-the-lasting-impacts/
  • https://ideas.repec.org/p/boj/bojron/ron160121b.html
  • https://edition.cnn.com/2021/07/21/perspectives/japan-olympics-suntory-ceo-intl-hnk/index.html
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57240044
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57924885
  • https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14414274
  • https://jbpress.ismedia.jp/articles/-/57812
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/world/asia/yoshiro-mori-tokyo-olympics-resigns.html
  • https://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2021/08/07/olympics/summer-olympics/sport-climbing/sport-climbing-olympics/
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Rina OBA
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