최종편집 : 2020.5.21 목 20:08
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Japan’s Despair, The Decision of Delaying Tokyo Olympic
Choi Min-ju  |  cmj980522@cau.ac.kr
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승인 2020.05.17  17:09:15
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Recently, the world has been rocked by COVID-19. Unlike the past virus crisis, which we believed would calm down soon, the world is in a state of turmoil, showing signs that it will be long-lasting. Currently, several countries are wary of problems caused by COVID-19, calling for emergency actions to be taken, among which "Japan" may be one of the most noticeable. Japan was scheduled to host the summer Olympics on July 24th 2020, but eventually decided to delay the Olympics to next year in the aftermath of COVID-19. In history, the Summer Olympics have been canceled at the 1916 Berlin Games in Germany, the 1940 Tokyo Games in Japan, and the 1944 London Games in England because of war. However, this is the first time that an Olympics has been postponed due to an infectious disease. Why did Japan, which had been holding out as long as possible to not delay the Olympics, suddenly decide to put off?
 
About the ‘Olympic’: a Sports Festival for People All Over the World
It is an international competition involving thousands of athletes from all over the world, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating every two years. It is organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As the 20thcentury Olympic movement developed, the IOC had to adapt to the changing social environment of the world. Examples of such changes include the Winter Olympics, which deals with sports in ice and snow, the Paralympics including disabled people and the Youth Olympics involving teenage athletes. Every four years, the Olympics are a major sporting event shown on media around the world. So it is an opportunity for an unnamed athlete to gain personal, national, and global fame. In addition, the Olympic Games are a great opportunity for the host country to make their name known to the world. For this reason, countries around the world make great efforts to be selected as the host of the Olympics.
 
Japan’s Tears, Massive Damage from Olympic Delay
Why did Japan hope to hold the summit, not postpone the Olympics? Perhaps the biggest reason is due to finances. SMBC Nikko Securities expected a loss of 670 billion yen (about 7.4 trillion won) if the Olympics were not held. Not only medals but also items and souvenirs needed for the competition are all made with the "2020 Tokyo Olympics" logo, so it takes a lot of money to make items with the logo for the "2021 Tokyo Olympics" again. Fortunately, next summer, Tokyo Olympics decided to use the current logo and supplies they already have. However, problems related to the athletes' village have yet to be solved. The large athletes' village, which was built on the premise that after the Olympics will open in July 2020, they will be repurposed into ordinary people's homes after the Olympics. A huge housing complex, which can accommodate 12,000 people, is being created, with calls for compensation for those who cannot move in due to the delayed Olympics. Currently, the athletes' village building is leased by Tokyo and will be returned to the operator this year. Negotiations will be held on extending the period of use of the athletes' village because it is difficult to find an alternative athletes' village. However, it also seems unlikely to ignore those who are worried that apartments will be left empty.
 
It was too late: a torrent of criticism
After the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, criticism flooded towards both IOC President Thomas Bach and Japan. The reason for this is that as the COVID-19 situation became more serious, the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics continued to be delayed, despite the fact that it should have been decided long ago. Their late decision was also directly criticized by the German media ‘Heute Show’ for "prioritizing economic practicality before players' health.” Criticism continued not only in Germany but also in Japan. According to the Yomiuri newspaper in Japan, 69 percent of the respondents said it would be better to postpone the Olympics due to the influence of COVID-19. Japan, which also showed a relatively lukewarm response to the "Olympic Delay," was holding out to open in July as scheduled.Why did they suddenly declare the Olympic postponement?Along with U.S. President Trump's first official request for a delay, COVID-19 stopped sports around the world, including the PGA, NBA, and EPL. Later, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand declared their boycott of the Tokyo Olympics, which were (at the time still) scheduled to be held this summer, for the safety of athletes. Britain, also, agreed with them and left only an official statement of absence. Under these circumstances, Japan decided that even if it pushed ahead with hosting the Olympics, it would be hard to expect a success as it would become a half-baked Olympics. In the end, Japan announced the postponement of the Olympics on March 24th.
 

  The world has fallen into chaos because of COVID-19 and nobody knows when it will end. For the current situation, the Tokyo Olympics in Japan is likely to open on July 23th, 2021. Interestingly, once the Olympic Games were officially postponed, it was been revealed that as of March 29th, 2020, the number of patients infected with COVID-19 was at just over 2,400 confirmed cases, yet Japanese prime minister Abe suddenly warned of a huge possible outbreak of COVID-19 infections in Japan. Some around the world point out that the Japanese government was covering up COVID-19-related figures to host the Olympics. In the meantime, Tony Estange, chairman of the Paris Olympic Organizing Committee, told AFP, "We are preparing for the Olympics separately from Japan. The Olympics in Tokyo will be held in 2021 and the Paris Olympics will be held three years later". Hopefully, the COVID-19 situation will calm down as soon as possible and we’ll all be able to meet the athletes. 

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