Robert Jang / Staff reporter
On March 24th, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially announced that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19. However, there are other important factors that we need to consider. This is the first time in the 124 years of Olympics history that the event has been postponed. According to USA Today, the Japanese government spent 12.6 billion US dollars to host the Olympics and build stadiums for a successful game. Experts expect that more than 26 billion US dollars will be spent in the future due to the postponement as well.
The most important issues of the Tokyo Olympics are safety and health problems. There was a big earthquake in Fukushima that damaged Japan in 2011 which broke loose a lot of radioactive matter throughout the country. Also, a big tsunami swept through Fukushima and the nuclear power plant couldn’t handle the power of the tsunami. As a result, the explosion of the nuclear power plant made Fukushima an uninhabitable territory. According to Greenpeace, 880 tons of nuclear fuel was released into the water, spreading the harmful radioactive matter into the oceans. However, the Japanese government refuses to take this into account and demands that the food provided for the athletes at the Olympics in Japan will be made using Fukushima’s ingredients. Some countries have announced that they are planning to take ingredients to Japan from their own countries and will make their own food for their athletes.
Another problem is the historical and political problem of postponing the Olympics in Japan. The IOC has approved the use of the Rising Sun flag in the stadiums and has shocked many Asian countries who are opposing the IOC’s decision. According to the Guardian, the Rising Sun flag is a war crime flag much like the Hakenkreuz Nazi flag from WWII. However, the Japanese government is claiming that the rising sun symbol is their own traditional symbol and that they are using the Rising sun flag as the naval army’s flag. According to CNN, South Korea’s parliamentary committee of sports wants the so-called Rising Sun flag to be banned from venues at next year’s Tokyo Olympics as it is viewed in South Korea as a symbol of Japanese “imperialism and militarism.” However, the IOC hasn’t changed their decision yet.
How about the games that have an age limit? For instance, players over 23 years old cannot participate in men’s soccer at the Olympics. Then, what will happen to the countries with Olympic soccer team players that are 23 years old in 2020? In response, the IOC has raised the age limit for Olympic soccer teams to 24 years of age, only for the 2021 Olympics. This decision has created a greater sense of competitive nature in younger players. An exciting game of soccer can be expected at the upcoming Olympics.
If Japan hosts the first-ever postponed Olympic games successfully, it will be remembered as a big event in the history of humanity of man overcoming one of the biggest pandemics to date. However, if Japan fails to host the games successfully, it will be a big loss to Japan in both economy and political reputation.