Tokyo, along with Rio, Madrid and Chicago, has made it through to the next round of the Olympic city nominations. In Japan, this was widely heralded as a very good piece of news and Tokyo governor, Ishihara, will no doubt be ready to steam on with the campaign.
Interestingly, in the small world of English media in Japan, editors seem to be reluctant to report, let alone support, the aspirations of their host capital city. The Japan Times for example ran an opinion piece on Tokyo’s bid back in 2006 which basically said the city didn’t stand a chance. Among the writers reasons are:
“Facilities -- One of the most flawed aspects of the Tokyo bid is the fact that organizers want to host some of the events in venues that were built for the 1964 Games.
I'm sure that IOC members aren't going to take very kindly to sites that will have been in existence for at least 52 years, by the time the 2016 Games roll around.
Television -- Let's face it, the IOC likes to put the Games in places where the time zones are more favorable to European and North American audiences, and larger rights fees can be garnered. Awarding the Games to an Asian city does not do this.
History -- IOC members have long memories. The trouble caused by the fallout from the awarding of the 1998 Nagano Games still resonates with many.”
All doom and gloom isn’t it? This is bizarre. As English language media in Japan, The Japan Times would not do badly to put the Olympic logo on the cover, run supporting campaigns and generally get involved as much as possible. The readership of English media here would increase massively if Tokyo got the Olympics, in every category. There may even be room for a specialist English language publication and lifestyle paper such as Metropolis or the The Weekender to gain massively from a sharp boost in their circulation figures. As do we.
Therefore, we feel it only right that the arguments above be refuted:
Facilities – Tokyo is without doubt one of the cleanest, safest cities in the world with a public transport that London (Olympic city 2012) would surely be happy to swap Big Ben for. When it comes to knocking up a few new stadiums, construction in Japan happens quickly and without sparing of expense.
Television – for the IOC to disprove cynics everywhere, give the games to Tokyo. Also, rights are only one slice of the Olympic pie. Japan has massive wow-factor appeal for North American audiences and since when have time zone issues decided location for a worldwide contest?
History – every competitor has its skeletons in the closet in this regard. Chicago has a notoriously corrupt city hall (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0812/p02s01-uspo.html). Madrid, aside from being too close to London, faces problems from Basque terrorism while the crime rate in Rio is frightening.
Tokyo for 2016 is obviously the best option. For safety, service, interest and efficiency it is head and shoulders above its Latin and US competitors. Japan did a good job with the World Cup and has made a notable contribution in terms of the unique sports it has added to the Olympic repertoire, from Sumo to Judo.
Just in case there is any doubt, we give our full support to the 2016 bid from Tokyo.
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