Tokyo has beat out Istanbul and Madrid to host the 2020 Olympic Summer Games. The IOC made its vote in Buenos Aires.
In 1964, Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in a much different time of economic growth and national recovery from the destruction of World War II. In 2020, Tokyo will be recovering from a long stagnate economy and the 2011 tsunami that caused the Daiichi Nuclear Reactor to meltdown in Fukushima. Even with the ongoing melt-down in Fukushima, this was not enough to change the IOC delegates minds in their vote, but it is to hope that sustainability, safety and green technology are some of key guiding concepts of the massive construction projects that will now begin in Japan’s capital.
The Shinkansen (bullet train) and One Cup Ozeki (sake) are two things that are still remaining from the 1964 Olympics era, what will the 2020 Olympics bring us and leave behind as cultural icons?
The centerpiece of Tokyo’s Olympic Games will be the redevelopment by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid of the National Stadium (originally built for & hosted the 1964 Games) in Sendagaya perfectly located just outside of Shinjuku, Tokyo.
The last big sporting event held in Japan (and Korea), the 2002 World Cup was a huge success, as the country embraced and welcomed the World, and then the Aichi Expo in 2005 brought the World back to Japan for the Worlds Fair, before sliding back into a decade of economic stagnation and poor relations with its neighbors and increasingly shifting to the right.
Let’s hope the 2020 Olympics have a re-energizing effect on the country and that people will be legally allowed to dance in nightclubs after midnight to celebrate and enjoy the Olympic spirit.