A roundup of recent Summer 2020 Tokyo Olympics stories that have caught my eye…
So more details come out about the IOC’s choice of Tokyo to host the Summer 2020 Olympic Games…
Jere Longman and Martin Fackler report in the New York Times that the IOC saw Tokyo as a “safe pair of hands”, at least compared to Istanbul and Madrid. Put succinctly, they write
For the International Olympic Committee, environmental concerns in Japan appeared less urgent than the Syrian war on Turkey’s border, a harsh crackdown against antigovernment protesters recently in Istanbul and Spain’s economic recession and high unemployment.
Of course, as several commenters to that article point out, the nuclear crisis at Fukushima is far from over; it was only one week ago that the CBC reported the Japanese government
is funding a costly, untested subterranean ice wall in a desperate step to stop leaks of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant after repeated failures by the plant’s operator.
However, as Hiroko Tabuchi and Joshua Hunt write in the NYTimes, the Olympics will put Japan, and Tokyo in particular, under greater international scrutiny, and may lead to effective action on the radiation leaks into the ocean at Fukushima and government deficit spending to support the ageing population.
Part of Tokyo’s winning bid was apparently it’s motto of a “compact Olympics”. As Gizmodo, and others, report, Tokyo’s plan includes retrofitting three of the sites built for the 1964 Olympics: the Olympic National Stadium (redesigned by Zaha Hadid Architects), Nippon Budokan (where I saw Sigur Ros perform back in May), and the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Apparently, according to Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan’s Gizmodo report, other venues are to be built in central Tokyo to make the most of existing transit infrastructure, and includes plans for a Metabolism-inspired athlete’s village on Tokyo’s waterfront.