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Is Tokyo ready for the 2020 Olympics?
  • By Nam Da-hyeon, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2019.12.05 00:53
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▲ Official 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games logos (https://soranews24.com/2016/04/28/official-2020-tokyo-olympic-logos-possess-a-little-secret-you-might-not-have-noticed/)

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, was selected as the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on September 7th, 2013. This will be Japan’s second time hosting the Summer Olympic Games, the first time being ‘Tokyo 1964’. The 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics were the first Olympic events to be held in Asia.

The Games of the XXXII Olympiad, ‘Tokyo 2020’, will be taking place in Tokyo from July 24th to August 9th. Apart from the 28 original sports, five new and different sports have been added to the Olympic program at the request of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee. They are baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing.

After the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games will be held in the same host city, Tokyo, from August 25th to September 6th. The Paralympic Games will feature 22 sports.

Here are links to lists of Olympic and Paralympic sports: https://tokyo2020.org/en/games/sport/olympic/ & https://tokyo2020.org/en/games/sport/paralympic/

According to the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have three core concepts. First, Achieving Personal Best, which is the fundamental purpose of Tokyo 2020. The goal is to deliver an event where every athlete can achieve their best performance. Second, Unity in Diversity : The Tokyo 2020 Games considers it a main priority to accept differences in race, language, gender, etc. throughout the process of hosting the games. Third, Connecting to Tomorrow means that the 2020 Games will enable Japan to promote future changes throughout the world, and leave a positive legacy for future generations.

(source: https://tokyo2020.org/en/games/vision/)

A pressing question remains. Is Tokyo ready for the 2020 Olympics?

It seems that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are having some problems. Here are three highly controversial issues.

1. The Temperature in Tokyo

On November 1st, 2019, the IOC decided to shift the venues of the marathon and race walking events from Tokyo to Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido. This change was made regarding the concerns of extremely high temperature and possible heat stroke which the athletes and audiences might face. Tokyo’s average temperature in August has exceeded 30 degrees. On the other hand, Sapporo, about 800 kilometers to the north of Tokyo, is expected to be 5-6 degrees cooler than Tokyo during the Tokyo 2020 Games.

In addition to this change, Mori Yoshiro, who is the head of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, informed the committee and the IOC that the triathlon and equestrian events would be held an hour earlier than originally planned. This change was made taking the weather conditions and safety of both the athletes and audiences into consideration.

2. Allowing the ‘Rising Sun Flag’ in the Stadium.

South Korea’s Sports Ministry asked the IOC and the Tokyo Olympic Committee to prohibit any use of the Rising Sun Flag. Tokyo Olympic organizers, however, said there were no plans to ban the flag. Furthermore, the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan is considering officially allowing the audience to bring the flag to the stadium.

In the Olympic Charter, the by-law to rule 50: Advertising, demonstrations, propaganda, Article 2, states, “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Based on this information, it will cause further issues if the IOC accepts Japan’s insistence on using the Rising Sun Flag.

3. The Quality and Temperature of the Water.

On August 11th, a test marathon swimming event was held at the Odaiba Marine Park. The international and Japanese press reported that swimmers were concerned about the water quality and temperature after the test event.

Oussama Mellouli, who won the 10km swimming marathon at London 2012, told the local reporters that, “it was the warmest race I have ever had.” The International Swimming Federation (FINA) rules state that athletes may not race when the water temperature exceeds 31 degrees.

Also, Japanese swimmer Yumi Kida said the water was “a little stinky, and the clarity was not very good so I really want to improve the quality.” To deal with this problem, the Tokyo 2020 organizers announced they will install triple-layer screens that filter the water and reduce bacteria levels.

In addition to the problems mentioned above, there are worries about radioactivity in athletes’ diets due to ingredients from Fukushima. All of these problems must be solved before the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games start. Everyone should keep their eyes on Japan to see how Japan deals with these difficulties.

For more information about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, please visit https://tokyo2020.org/en/

By Nam Da-hyeon, cub-reporter  skydhnam@naver.com

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