Blog: Tokyo beats Istanbul, Madrid for 2020 Olympics

There are questions surrounding Japan's winning bid, specifically the Fukushima plant disaster and the tsunami-ravaged coast.

The IOC always has a choice, and it never seems easy.

Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics, after a 60-36 vote slaughter of Istanbul on Saturday in Argentina. Madrid was the third slice of the pie, eliminated earlier in a first-round ballot.

And yet, there are concerns about Tokyo. Rather, about Japan.

“It comes at a huge price: more than $1.5 billion,” wrote the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes. “That is just a small part of the $8 billion that will be spent on refurbishing old stadiums and building new ones. So it’s all good news for Japan’s construction companies, who have long been suckled on the teat of government spending.

But all this money going it to Tokyo may be less good news for other parts of the country, particularly the Tsunami ravaged north-east coast. In many areas re-construction has still barely begun.”

Wingfield-Hayes – and pretty much everyone else – also touched on the situation in Fukushima, where a nuclear plant disaster in 2011 has left over 100,000 residents still stranded from their homes.

“Many feel that the rest of Japan is already forgetting about them, and that the Japanese government only cares about getting the other nuclear power plants back on line.

“If there is one positive thing for the people of Fukushima to come from the Olympic decision, it is that the world is now watching even more closely to see what goes on there. The Japanese government has seven years to contain and neutralise the disaster properly.”

If the IOC actually cares about societal tensions or cultural unrest – and their history offers little evidence they do – then anywhere in Japan may have been a better option to Spain or Turkey, based on Wingfield-Hayes’s last comments above.

Although Spanish representatives said their country’s current economic crater was nothing to worry about, it’s hard to imagine that. Billions are still billions, and the cost of an Olympics always seems to rise the closer the Games get.

“Madrid offers a safe, solid and reliable bid,” said Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy. “In fact, Madrid 2020 has perhaps the most reasonable and responsible financial foundation in recent Olympic history.

“Eighty per cent of the investment has already been undertaken and the Government guarantees the remainder.

“There is no risk to the Olympic Movement.”

Still, you have to question the responsibility of an Olympic body that would place its biggest party in a house that desperately needs the keg deposit returned.

The Spanish economic crisis is so present, the topic has its own Wikipedia page, and it’s still being updated. Spanish youth say things like, “Our generation is a lost cause.”

The IOC already has to deal with a teetering financial cleft in Brazil. They don’t need another.

And, while there’s little evidence to suggest Turkey would actually be a dangerous front for tourists with fanny packs, June’s riots are harder to look past than anything that could have happened to Tokyo.

It’s partly our Western bias – hey, it’s almost entirely our Western bias – but Japan has hosted before (as recently as 1998 in Nagano), and they’ll host again.

Is there work to be done?

Sure. There would be anywhere.

But, seven years is a long time.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after cancellations on Friday due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Most Read