Despite concerns about extreme heat, ballooning costs and accommodation shortages, organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are resolutely upbeat with one year to go until the opening ceremony – and not without some justification. Olympic fans from all over the world are invited to book Olympic 2020 tickets from our online platforms for Olympic Tickets. Olympic Hospitality fans can book Olympic Hospitality Tickets from our ticketing marketplace exclusively on discounted prices.
“Japan has gone from 9 million tourists in 2012 to more than 30 million last year, and is aiming for 40 million by Tokyo Olympic,” says Dr. Mike Duignan, professor of sports management at Coventry University, who is in Japan researching a Tokyo Zones project looking at the Games’ impact. This rate of growth is not maintainable, and Japan has not really been ready in many ways, including in terms of English language and availability.
The calculation requires a decline to minor issues such as the said original ground plan, a spare design without an Olympic cauldron, plagiarized logos that were also scrapped, a bidding corruption scandal and a budget on course to quadruple from primary projections.
The 7.5 million people in Japan listed for the initial ticket lottery, making every occasion enormously oversubscribed, 90% of candidates are projected to have come away empty-handed in the first round, and two more rounds have been planned for later this year.
The demand from visitors could see a shortage of more than 10,000 hotel rooms during the Games. Airbnb heavily planned, Japanese travel companies have chartered cruise ships, to be docked at nearby Kawasaki and Yokohama, to use as extra place. Then there are the hundreds of thousands expected to come from around the world to a country now showing signs of struggling to cope with a huge tourism boom.
The water may be one way to find at least some relief from the exciting heat and stifling moisture that is almost a safe bet in Japan between when the Games will run. A heatwave across those two months last year killed more than 130 people and saw 70,000 hospitalized. Organizers are taking a host of procedures, including early morning starts for the marathons, but concerns about the safety of athletes and spectators persevere.
“This year is chilly in Tokyo, which is very different from last year, and we do not know what will happen next year… We have made preparations so that procedures can be shifted if the weather requires it,” said Yoshiro Mori, 82, the president of the Tokyo Organizing Committee who was prime minister of Japan.
The IOC’s John Coates, at the same press conference in Tokyo, confirmed that audiences will be able to take their own water into locations and that there will be appropriate shade when queuing for actions. But that timetable does not fit with the plans of international presenters, who pay billions and make the event so gorgeous to sponsors. Tokyo Olympic has raised $3.1bn in sponsorship from 62 Japanese firms, around triple what any previous Games have pulled in from local companies.
Some of those promoters will be showcasing new technology at Tokyo, which aims “to host the most innovative Games in history,” said Takaya.
That should not be too much of an elasticity given the pace of technological advance and the interval between Olympics. Sponsor Toyota has built robot greeters for locations, android incarnations of the Olympic mascots and an automated cart to collect javelins and discus from the athletics field.
Whatever technology wows viewers and athletes next year, it would be impractical to expect the Games to have the same impact on Japan as Tokyo 1964. That event, and the arrangements for it, truly transformed the Japanese capital and offered a reborn nation onto the world stage as it completed its recovery from the ashes of the second world war. The show that Japan delivered was an absolute source of pride for its citizens. The events of trafficking in plastic nationalism and advised people to look under the shimmering shiny surface of the Games at who really profits from them.
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