Japan, winning or losing with The Olympics?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Tokyo Olympics lay between the uncertainty. When announced in 2013, after beating Istanbul, Turkey and Spain, everyone considered that it would be a great economic growth opportunity for the country, however the doubts remain in Japan.

With the pandemic it became clear that the games should be postponed, so they were delayed to 2021. Although the pandemic has receded and has been controlled in Asian countries, Japan is one of the countries with holdbacks in their vaccination program.

Nevertheless, there are other aspects that question whether Japan would win or lose by holding the Olympic games in their arena.


China and Japan Political Conflict

Japan is feeling the weight of China. This country not only overtook them as a commercial partner, but now it could also do so with the Winter Olympics that are confirmed for December.

The chinese have remained firm in their decision of hosting the Olympic games, mainly because they have managed the pandemic and their vaccination programs in a fast and controlled way.

China hopes to reach 40% of their population vaccinated by July, while in Japan vaccination has been delayed and barely reaches 7%.

In addition, the weight that China has over the Japanese in the most conservative sectors, imposes a permanent competition.

“If Japan can’t host the Olympics it’s because it hasn’t handled the pandemic well or the vaccination campaign hasn’t been fast enough, but China does manage its own, that will be another blow,” said David Leheny, professor of politics at the Waseda University.


An empty stadium

Japan invested more than 1.3 billion euros in a new stadium specially built for the Olympic games, enforced with the highest technology in order to face the high temperatures of the Japanese summer.

This stadium has a capacity of 60 thousand spectators, however, the health authorities asked Japan that the Olympics take place without an audience or with a reduced capacity of up to 50%, which would imply losses in the sale of tickets.

“The festive atmosphere will have to be suppressed,” said Tokyo 2021 organizing committee chair Seiko Hashimoto.

In addition, restrictive measures are being established, for example: denying entry to those people who exceed 37º, avoiding supporting the athletes verbally, preventing asking for autographs and not consuming alcoholic beverages.


The image of the games

Furthermore to the attendance of tourists, the sponsors are important to the profit of the games.

However, in Japan´s case, the games have become so unpopular that sponsors are doubting their participation, thinking they could be more affected than benefited.

This is because the games have been surrounded by controversies as:

  • The alleged plagiarism of the logo in 2015.
  • The macho comments of the former organizer of the games, Yoshiko Mori.
  • The protests of the Japanese against the Olympic games.
  • And the increase in COVID-19 cases.


If they were to be canceled, the economic losses are estimated to be more than 15 billion dollars.

So what do you say, would Japan win or lose with the Olympic games?