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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 25 - 31  > Concern growing over 2020 Tokyo Summer Games scheduled to be held in scorching weather
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2018 July 25 - 31 [SOCIAL ISSUES]
column 

Concern growing over 2020 Tokyo Summer Games scheduled to be held in scorching weather

July 25, 2018

Akahata ‘current’ column

Recently in Saitama’s Kumagaya City, the temperature hit 41.1 degrees Celsius, an all-time high in Japan. The Meteorological Agency describes the current heatwave as a kind of a natural disaster and heightens the sense of crisis. This scorching hot weather has been creating serious conditions across the country.

In the past week alone, 22,647 people were taken to hospital with heatstroke. Of them, a record high of 65 people died, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. As the weather forecast says that the extreme heat would carry on for a while, it is necessary for the general public to do much more than usual to prevent heat strokes and protect their lives.

The opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics will take place during the hottest time of the year. During the international sporting event, people from across the world will visit Tokyo. Given the disastrous and life-threatening heat wave this year, it is a matter of course that concern is growing over adverse health affects on both athletes and spectators during the 2020 Summer Games.

As measures to protect athletes from extreme heat, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan government plan to install a large number of water sprinklers and air-cooling fans, lay special pavement that slows the increase of ground temperature, as well as start some of games early in the morning. However, these plans are no more than band-aid solutions and will not address the root cause of the problem.

Tokyo won the bid to host the 2020 Summer Games by insisting that the summer weather in Tokyo is ideal for athletes to give their best performance. As the host city, the Tokyo Metropolitan government should be held responsible for this absurd argument. The International Olympic Committee is also to be blamed for prioritizing interests of TV networks. In the past, some Summer Games were held in September or October. The Tokyo organizing committee and the IOC need to consider rescheduling the Olympics as it is a matter of life and death.

The two-year countdown for the Olympics has already begun, but there remains a lot of problems to be solved. In addition to the issue of summer heat, the costs for the 2020 Summer Games are ballooning. The Olympic Games can be an excellent stage for athletes to compete with other top athletes from around the world. Their performance would touch viewers’ hearts and illustrate one aspect of human greatness. However, if Tokyo fails to properly tackle the pending problems, the Tokyo 2020 Games could bring disgrace to Olympic history.

Past related articles:
> Abe’s political exploitation of Tokyo Olympics evokes nightmare of Hitler [May 9, 2017]
> Tokyo residents petition governor not to demolish public housing for 2020 Olympics [June 23, 2015]
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