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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 25 - 31  > To hold Olympics during summer in Tokyo disregards athletes’ well being
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2018 July 25 - 31 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

To hold Olympics during summer in Tokyo disregards athletes’ well being

July 29, 2018
This summer, Japan is experiencing extremely scorching weather. This has heightened public concern that in 2020, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games may take place under sweltering summer temperatures.

This summer, the temperature repeatedly exceeded 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in many cities, including Tokyo. During the week starting on July 16, as many as 22,647 people were taken by ambulance to hospitals with heatstroke and 65 of them died, a record high for one week since 2008 when statistics on this phenomenon started.

Waseda University Professor Nagashima Kei, an expert on issues related to body temperature and bodily fluids, stressed, “Given the apparent health risks associated with the summer heat in Tokyo, it is a reckless act to hold the Olympic Games in the hottest time of summer.” He warned that the extreme summer heat in Tokyo may cause heatstroke or dehydration even among Olympic athletes and that some may face a mortal danger.

It can be easily imagined that extreme summer heat during the 2020 Summer Games would also endanger the life of the viewing audience, volunteers, and staff members.

In the first place, why did the International Olympic Committee decide to hold the Olympic Games in the middle of the summer in Tokyo? Masumoto Naofumi, specially-appointed professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University, said that it is in order to serve the interests of TV networks. He pointed out that TV networks in the U.S. and European nations had strong influence over when to hold the Summer Games. He noted that July and August 2020 are convenient for them because no other major sporting events are scheduled during these two months.

Masumoto went on to say that the IOC decided to organize the finals of swimming events in the mornings in Japan, which is prime time in the U.S. He said that evidently, the IOC’s policy was not “athlete first” but “revenue sources first”. Likewise, in the PyeongChang Winter Games in February this year, the finals of figure skating events took place in the mornings in South Korea.

Masumoto referred to the Olympic Charter which stipulates that as its role, the IOC should “encourage and support measures relating to the medical care and health of athletes” as well as “oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes”. He said that now is the time for the IOC to go back to the principles of the Charter.

Past related articles:
> Tokyo gov’t should remember spirit of Olympic movement [October 28, 2017]
> 2018 Winter Olympics may prioritize US TV stations over figure skaters [November 10, 2016]
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