It’s still 2015, but Japan is already actively planning for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Slightly straying from the more elaborate games of the past such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Tokyo looks to be the first of a leaner type of Olympic Games.
For instance, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was forced to scrap the design of a $2 billion flagship stadium due to public disapproval. Rather than spend money on a futuristic main stadium, which would have limited future usage, the Japanese demand the government to allocate its funds to support its growing public debt, which is currently double its $4.6 trillion economy. Much of the growing debt is due to social security, as Japan’s aging population continues to grow.
Many practical reasons exist for trimming-down the 2020 Olympics, as the former prime minister warns that costs could balloon to $16.7 billion, roughly 3 times the original estimate. Although the reduction in funding could compromise Japan’s original pledge to have all stadiums within 5 miles of the athletes’ accommodation, the Japanese largely approve of the government’s austerity. After all, what use is a multi-billion dollar stadium if it will only be used for mere months?
Contributor: Elaine Chen