Tokyo 2020 – Is the Safe Choice the Right Choice?

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As the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, opened the envelope to reveal Tokyo, Japan's capital, had beaten Madrid and Istanbul to be given the opportunity to host the biggest sporting event on earth, there was always going to be jubilation with a hint of controversy. Tokyo showed both passion and determination to secure the vote which would make Japan the first ever Asian country to host the Olympics twice.

Their first time hosting the Olympics was in 1964, involving such athletes as British long jumper Mary Rand and race walker Ken Matthews. Great Britain only managed to win four gold medals compared to our incredible haul of 29 at London last year. Given the success of the 2012 games, I'm sure most Brits would happily have the Olympics here every four years. However, there are 199 capitals and several hundred more major cities in the world; all with varying levels of suitability.

So, the big question is, is Tokyo fit to host the Olympics?

You cannot doubt their credentials. Boasting one of the finest infrastructures in the world, including the renowned 'Bullet Train'. Their respected and charismatic president, Shinzo Abe, even claimed that Tokyo would be ready 'To host it tomorrow.' Japan has one of the most secure economies in the world and their GDP, which is the third highest in the world, looks far more attractive than what Spain or Turkey can currently offer.

Inside a large theatre in Argentinian capital Buenos Aires, Tokyo were clear favourites. However, there was one question regarding their suitability which stood out above all others. Will the athletes and spectators be safe from radiation, given the ongoing problems at the Fukushima nuclear power plant?

Shinzo Abe had a planned response. 'In 2020, seven years from now, there will be absolutely no problem. The radiation level in Tokyo is the same as London, New York and Paris. It's absolutely safe, 35 million people living there in very normal conditions. We have no worries.'

So there you have it. The president has made a clear promise that millions of tourists who descend onto Tokyo in 2020 will be perfectly safe from the catastrophe which occurred 150 miles away from the country's capital more than years ago.

Another interesting question regards whether Tokyo's bid was successful because of its strengths, or Madrid and Istanbul's weaknesses?

Madrid would have made an excellent city to host the Olympics. However, it is an unfortunate fact that they simply would not be able to afford it. A country which has a 27% unemployment rate and a youth unemployment rate of 56% would be better off investing the potential Olympics funding to help their country's economy, rather than attempt to inspire their next generation.

Barcelona's 1992 Olympics sadly failed to do just that, leaving stadia and facilities to rot inside Spain's second largest city. It is clear now that financial security is the base requirement for a city to host the Olympics. Madrid would certainly make great hosts, but not amid their financial crisis.

As for Istanbul, the bid couldn't recover the damage caused by the recent street protests, doping scandals and the sheer quantity of match-fixing allegations in their top-flight football league, the Super Lig. This scandal has left teams stripped of titles, European statuses and has most certainly destroyed reputations. This has raised concerns over the legitimacy of other sports in the country. If those concerns were to be raised during the Olympics, it could cause complete embarrassment for Turkey and their bid which vowed to 'Unite two continents – Europe and Asia.'

From two years of lobbying, Tokyo have overcome both the recent tsunami and the Fukushima disaster to create a sound presentation, fighting off fierce rivals who all had justified reasons to host the biggest sporting event. They showed resilience and a strong sense of direction regarding their plans if they were given the green light to host the games.

Although it is 7 years away, the world is excited to arrive at one of the biggest and most cultured cities on earth to watch their country strive for glory in an event which brings the whole world together.

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