JAPAN: Support, Hopes Grow for 2020 Olympic Bid

Tokyo’s effort to host the 2020 Summer Olympics has finally hit its stride. According to The Daily Yomiuri, one of Japan’s leading newspapers, popular support for the capital bid hit 83% in a February survey. That’s up 11% from January, and the poll found an equally encouraging decline in people opposed to the effort.

The growing support has been underscored by media reports detailing the upside of playing Olympic host, for both Tokyo and Japan as a whole.

Among the themes of Tokyo’s bid are recovery and the inspiration it can spark. In an interview with The Daily Yomiuri, Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee, described Japan as being “worn out and in need of brightness and vitality.”

The lethargy stems from economic stagnation and the Great East Japan Earthquake, whose effects are still being felt. Being chosen as the 2020 host could serve to jumpstart the nation’s flagging enthusiasm to push through these troubles.

The possible benefits extend beyond the money and pride it can bring a host (as witnessed last year in London). The Bid Committee says it hopes to foster the dreams and hopes of children, especially those affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo and Japan as a whole stand to gain substantially from hosting the 2020 Olympics. But, the other competitors for the bid, Madrid and Istanbul, are likely to put up also compelling cases. The official host will be chosen on September 7, following city inspection tours conducted by the International Olympic Committee. A chance for renewal, the prospect of hosting the event could drive the nation back into the international spotlight.

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