Global Warming, Media Heat and the “Olypara” in Tokyo

obayashi-keio-business-schoolProf. Atsuomi Obayashi, Keio Business School, on the “hot” issues facing Tokyo in the run up to the Paralympics

The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are over and the next games will be held at Tokyo in 2020. Typically, the political debate as the games host city centers on the financial cost: a hot issue in Japan’s capitol. The newly elected mayor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, had questioned budgetary issues of the city in her campaign, and now proposes curtailing the ever-increasing budget to host the games. She may succeed, above all, in reducing construction costs by utilizing a few existing facilities instead of building new ones.

glory burning torchAnother “hot” issue of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, though it draws less attention, is hot weather here during the games. It will be held from late July through early August, the hottest time of the year at Tokyo. High temperatures will often reach 35 degrees Centigrade, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity at 75%. It goes without saying that doing games such as the marathon in such conditions is far from healthy. When Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964, it was held in October, probably the best choice for many athletes in terms of weather and it is interesting to note that global warming since then would have made October an even better choice this time round. However, technological innovation since those times enables real-time broadcasting over the world, and the media appetite for viewership makes the summer vacation season the best choice in terms of revenue. Hopefully, technological innovation will also enable ways and means with which to reduce the athletes’ burden during the summer games.

Moreover, being held in the summer vacation season, the timing of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics (Japanese people sometimes call them “Olypara” for short) will be convenient for international visitors to watch the games on site. In addition to “Olypara” there will be special events at that time in the country which look set to entertain visitors from all over the world. Why not visit Japan, and – when you visit in summer – make sure to keep yourself cool.

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