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JAPAN WELCOMES THE WORLD: OPENING CEREMONIES TONIGHT
Published February 6, 1998
Japan, "in its worst economic straits since World War II, has spent a record $13 billion to stage an Olympics" which open today, according to Sullivan & Shipley on the front page of the WASHINGTON POST. Sullivan & Shipley: "Now, against a backdrop of the country's high-tech magic, effusive hospitality and cultural treasures, approximately 2,500 athletes are poised to provide inspirational, made- for-TV drama" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/6). This morning in Nagano, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said, "I would like to say 'so far, so good'" (KYODO NEWS, 2/6). EVERYBODY'S HAPPY: In L.A., Mike Penner wrote Nagano "is already outpacing Atlanta in almost every category on the organizational scorecard." USOC Dir of PR Mike Moran: "They have been immediately responsive to problems" (L.A. TIMES, 2/6). In DC, Michael Wilbon writes, "Welcome to the We-Are-Not-Atlanta Games ... where everything works, where you don't see giant Nike swooshes on every building." Wilbon adds, "You'd have to work to be cynical here" as many "can't find anything significant to complain about" (WASH. POST, 2/6). In N.Y., Jere Longman writes the Games open "with a welcome that has become both extravagantly international and stirringly local" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/6). But in Chicago, Bernie Lincicome calls Nagano a "shabby choice" and a "junky little city." Lincicome: "I hope things turn out better than they are starting" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/6). In N.Y., Joel Sherman writes traffic is a potential problem and is "expected to worsen" (N.Y. POST, 2/6). BOON OR BUST? USA TODAY's cover-story profiles Japan's hosting of the Games under the header, "Japan Hopes Games Will Lift Spirits" (USA TODAY, 2/6). In Minneapolis, Weiner & Blount examine whether the Games are "a boon or a boondoggle" to Nagano (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/6). In S.F., C.W. Nevius writes that Nagano is "still deeply conflicted about these Games" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/6). OPENING NIGHT: NAOC Exec Producer Keita Asari said that he has "gone out of his way" to keep Hollywood "glitz" out of tonight's Opening Ceremonies. The event will "focus on Japanese culture and global peace instead of commercial entertainment" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/6).