Whilst the spread of the coronavirus continues unabated, Japan will soon be hosting the Tokyo Olympics. Are you in favour of the Tokyo Olympics? Are you against it? Today I would like to write about why I am against the Tokyo Olympics as a Japanese person.
1. The money should be spent on reconstruction efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake
I have felt a sense of discomfort since 2013, when Tokyo was chosen to host the 2020 Olympics. I was in the Philippines for a university research project when the decision was made, and I missed the excitement that the rest of Japanese society was experiencing. Indeed, a few days later, just after I landed at Narita Airport, I saw posters all over the airport saying "The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo!” It was a pity that I didn't get to see that historic moment in person.
Rather than feel excited I couldn't stop thinking about the damage of Great East Japan Earthquake, and 10 years later, it's still the same. I began attending a university in Tokyo in 2013, two years after the disaster, and I went to Tohoku to volunteer many times. I went to many lectures to listen to the stories of the victims. What I learned from these experiences was the extent of the damage caused by the disaster, not only physically but also emotionally.
When I actually went to the disaster area to volunteer, the local people who showed me around told me that there used to be XX here before the disaster, but now there is nothing, just a clearing. I couldn't imagine that there were buildings there until a few years ago. It will take more than the goodwill of volunteers to truly recover from such devastation. I believe that we need the help of the Japanese government. The decision to host the Olympics has certainly increased the number of foreign tourists but I keep getting the impression that the government is only looking at the bright side of things and not at the disaster areas.
2. Investing in the safety of the Japanese people, not just in disaster areas
The areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake are not the only places where money should be spent in Japan. Every year, Japan is hit by major typhoons and heavy rainfall. In summer it can be unbelievably hot, and in winter there can be snow so heavy that public transport is stopped. Landslides and liquefaction in city centres are also serious problems. I think that the government should invest more money and technology in making the country safer and protecting the Japanese people from such damage.
3. With the spread of the coronavirus, the public is also opposed to holding the Olympics
According to a poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan's largest newspapers, on 10 and 11 April 2021, 28% of respondents (27% in the previous poll conducted in March) said they would "hold the Games this summer", 34% (36% in March) said they would "postpone again" and 35% (33% in March) said they would "cancel", all unchanged much from March. With the new coronavirus spreading again, 'this summer' continues to be less common than 'reschedule' or 'cancel'. This shows that more than half of the Japanese people want the Olympics to be rescheduled or cancelled.
Of course, it would be difficult to cancel or reschedule, mainly for financial reasons, but it is questionable whether it makes sense to hold the Olympics when the people living in the host country, Japan, do not approve.
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4. It's not just the athletes who are working hard
It is understandable that people are moved and encouraged by the great achievements of athletes in the Olympic Games. But are athletes the only ones who are special?
I was never very good at sports as a child and PE at school was literally hell for me. Especially in primary and secondary school, those who were good at sports somehow became the most popular and were at the centre of the class. I was always the last one to finish the running race in the sports day. After the race, we had to line up in order of finish and I was always looked down on. I think I would have hated going to school if my parents hadn't said to me at home, "It's not all about running fast, and you can be who you are". As a child, I always preferred to study and reading books, believing that one day I would be rewarded for my efforts. As an adult, I am relieved to see a society where those who study hard are justly rewarded. But the Olympics are not going away. As a high school student, university student and now an adult, I was very relieved to know that there were many people in society who were just as bad at sports as I was. It made me feel that it was okay to be bad at sports. Of course, I understand that athletes are not only born with talent, but they also put in a lot of hard work.
But it is the same for ordinary people in the country. Every day, they work as hard as they can. Shouldn't the government spend its resources on these people? At a time when the coronavirus is still out of control, what is the point of bringing athletes and officials from all over the world to one country, Japan, for the Olympics? If you believe in the power of sport, then why not hold small local sporting events or broadcast live sporting events from overseas on TV?
It will be interesting to see whether the Tokyo Olympics will be held this year or not. But in my opinion, it will not have a positive effect on Japan, or the Japanese people.
Thank you for reading to the end!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Yuzu