Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 30 - August 12  > Tokyo’s extreme summer heat may adversely affect Olympic athletes
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2014 July 30 - August 12 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Tokyo’s extreme summer heat may adversely affect Olympic athletes

July 30, 2014
The 2020 Summer Olympics is to take place in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9. There is growing concern that Tokyo’s fierce heat may seriously affect athletes’ health.

The temperature high on July 24 this year, which corresponds to the day the opening ceremony will be held six years from now, was 34.6 degrees Celsius. On that evening, the National Athletic Stadium and nearby vicinities in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward experienced a severe thunderstorm which lasted about two hours.

The temperature high was over 35 degrees on July 25 and 26. After that, it continued topping 30 degrees for two weeks. During this protracted period of time, the temperature often remained above 30 degrees from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The guidelines for preventing heatstroke issued by the Japan Sports Association (JASA) state that physical exercises should be stopped in temperatures of 35 degrees or higher. It also advises avoiding strenuous exercises such as long-distance running when the temperature exceeds 31 degrees.

Oshiro Tamae, a 38-year-old amateur runner who ran a full marathon three times, said, “It is difficult for even top athletes to exercise their abilities to the utmost under hot weather. Japan’s sports authorities should consider choosing another time to hold the event.”

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics took place in October in balmy weather conditions. The 1988 Seoul Games were also held from mid-September to the beginning of October.

Since the 1990s, however, all Summer Games other than the 2000 Sydney Olympics have taken place during the hot season. This is because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has requested the cities bidding to host the Olympics to hold them in the summertime.

Regarding the IOC’s intention, Ogawa Masaru, a Japanese sportswriter, pointed to the fact that the international organization has heavily depended on broadcasting rights fees from American TV networks.

In the United States, four major sports are very popular: American football, basketball, ice hockey, and baseball. Except for Major League Baseball, the other three sports are in their off-season in the summer. If TV stations televise the Olympic Games in the summer, they can make lucrative contracts with sponsors as the viewing rate is expected to go up.

The Olympic Charter requires the IOC to work to protect athletes’ health as well as to oppose any attempts to utilize them for commercial purposes.

In accordance with this charter’s spirit, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics should review the way to hold the event, including a change in its timing.

Past related article:
> Tokyo governor declares review of Olympic venue plans [June 11, 2014]
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved