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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 25 - 31  > Postponement of Tokyo Olympics highlights need to get back to basics of Olympic movement
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2020 March 25 - 31 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Postponement of Tokyo Olympics highlights need to get back to basics of Olympic movement

March 26, 2020

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games until the summer 2021. The rescheduling was agreed upon on March 24 in a telephone meeting between Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and International Olympic Committee Chair Thomas Bach. Shortly after that, the postponement was officially approved at the IOC board of directors meeting. In the 120-plus years of the modern Olympics history, there were a few examples of cancellation of the Olympic Games due to wars. The Tokyo 2020 Games will be the first to be postponed.

In this unprecedented situation, it is essential to go back to the fundamental principles of Olympism. The Olympic Charter states “The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” It also states that Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on “social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”.

Given these principles, it is unacceptable to hold the Summer Games in a way that will pose an infection risk to athletes, staff, volunteers, and spectators, and fuel the spread of the coronavirus. Although no one can say for sure how the situation will be by the summer of next year, it is definitely necessary to abide by the basic principles of Olympism.

The rescheduling of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games not only places a heavy hardship on athletes but also requires extremely difficult cooperation in planning. The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee will have to secure additional funds to rebook and maintain venues for 33 different sports events. The organizer needs to rearrange a huge number of hotel reservations. It also needs to take measures associated with the rescheduling including recruiting volunteers and dealing with sold tickets in a way that can be acceptable to all.

The high cost of the Tokyo Olympics has been a problem all along. For example, the construction cost of the new national athletic stadium far exceeded the initial estimate. The Board of Audit pointed to problems in the government spending for the sporting event. As the Japanese economy and people are experiencing economic difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak, the general public should not be forced to shoulder additional financial burdens and economic losses stemming from the rescheduling of the 2020 Summer Games. It is important for the general public to call for transparency in the use of tax money and management in order to keep an eye on developments even more closely.

Past related articles:
> Tokyo JCP demands disclosure of process of venue change for Olympic marathon events [November 12, 2019]
> JCP comments on issue over 2020 Olympic marathon [October 30, 2019]
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