Olympics 2020: Is Japan Ready?

There are still many issues at stake ahead of the games next year

It’s less than 14 months be- fore the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. From the July 24 to Aug. 9 of next year, Japan will enjoy the many benefits of hosting this event, which is expected to bring a massive economic boost to the country.

The preparations, however, have been off to a rocky start. Over three years ago, there was a plagiarism charge over the official emblem. The emblem, unveiled in 2015 by graphic designer Kenji Sano, seemed very similar to a 2013 logo for the Theatre de Liege. The Olympic Committee decided to scrap the design. There are other issues far beyond the logo.

There is concern that the construction of stadiums will not be finished by the Olympics, according to a Tokyo governor. Also, it is expected that the costs to go to the Olympics and Paralympics will be more than $20 billion for stadiums, facilities, and marketings. National government, Tokyo, and the Olympic Committee paying for it, and it will be born by taxes and fundings.

During the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games in 1984, the city didn’t use any taxes to hold the games. The funding was provided by a broadcasting rights fees, sponsorships, and the sale of merchandise. Also, L.A. didn’t build new stadiums, but reused stadiums from the L.A. Olympics in 1932.

In Tokyo, the committee considered using the national stadium from the previous Tokyo Olympics in 1964. However, the capacity inside is insufficient and it has become too old to use, so they needed to construct a brand new stadium. Originally, they wanted to make a roof for the stadium but because of a lack of budget, that plan was canceled and there will be no roof in the new stadium. According to a Japanese newspaper, Asahi, some of the other arenas’ constructions are still delayed because of bankruptcies of construction companies.

The other serious issue is traffic congestion of traffic and train issues. It is expected that about 10 million people include players, official staff, and tourists will come to Tokyo during the Olympics. To prevent the heavy traffic, a Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike, requested that companies change their business hours. However, many are unwilling or unsure they will do so. In 2012, the Olympics was held in London, former mayor Boris Johnson helped to encourage the system of “Telework.” Many employees didn’t have to go into an office and instead telecommuted. Koike is offering this system to companies, and she hopes it will help the Olympics to go smoothly to minimize traffic and congestion.

Hotel and lodging inadequacies are also major challenges, with some looking at ships as potential lodgings and renting out rooms for tourists. Japan, however, has a very low crime rate, and the public is concerned about potential issues that the Olympics may bring with out-of-town visitors.

Ultimately, there’s a lot of excitement brewing, along with a healthy dose of reality.

As Tokyo’s governor noted: “The costs are not waste. If we could make the systems and new arenas for the Olympics, Tokyo can be the place for other international tournament games after this, and it means Japanese people will have more interest for sports. Therefore, I want to show real value to the public and to those all over the world in 2020 Olympics.”