The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are just one year away. Several events were held this summer to raise awareness and garner attention toward the games.
The greatest sporting event is returning to Tokyo after 56 years. Japan now aims to replicate the success of the 1964 Olympic Games.
The 1964 Olympic Games were significant for Japan, because only 14 years after the WWII ended, it resulted in Japan’s return to the global stage as a peaceful and economically strong nation. The government lavishly spent on a major building and bullet train program that transformed the city’s infrastructure.
However, Japan is currently facing financial challenges. Their economy is no longer thriving and is saddled with the burden of a huge debt. Furthermore, Japan’s population has aged more than any other country’s, thereby resulting in a reduction of workforce.
The government originally allotted a budget of 700 billion yen for the games that has now increased to 3 trillion yen. Irrespective of the final figures, the government is justifying the exorbitant expenditure by stating that the costs will be recovered through a surge in tourism, technological innovation, and other activities.
Above all, there is a major concern that Tokyo’s summer heat and humidity may be suffocating and unbearable for the tourists and athletes. In terms of latitudinal extent, Tokyo (N35.41) conincides with that of the Mediterranean Sea.
Tokyo may have to shower tourists and athletes with cooling mists and develop heat-reducing pavements for runners. The scheduled time for some events has been changed to reduce threats of heat exhaustion.
Despite all the technical and administrative issues, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games aim to promote hope and provide a new infrastructure and economic model for the future. At its best, Japan is adept at solving problems such as an aging population, stagnant growth, and safety, which most large countries face in this turbulent global society.