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Volume 6 No. 212
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Olympics Bid Expected To Boost Construction, Tourism In Japan As Nation Celebrates

Tokyo's winning bid to host the 2020 Olympics may boost construction and tourism stocks and give a lift to consumer confidence, "playing into Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to revive the world's third-biggest economy," according to Nohara & Kawano of BLOOMBERG. Hosting the games can create new jobs and boost optimism as Japan seeks to overcome the economic effects of the '11 earthquake and tsunami and "a record debt that have been a drag on growth." In a Sept. 4 report, Abe wrote, "Our rough view is that the impact could be at least similar to the U.K., at around 0.7-0.8 percent of GDP over 7 years," or about 3-4T yen ($30B-$40B) on a value added basis, or about 6-8T yen ($60B-$80B) on a gross output basis. The plan "has yet to translate into the higher wages needed to fuel the consumer spending required to sustain the recovery." An Olympic building boom "could help change that." Tokyo is planning its biggest housing complex in 42 years to lodge athletes, "a move that may benefit developers such as Shimizu Corp. and Mitsubishi Estate Co." Kenichi Kimura, who is in charge of the finances for the city's bid at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, said in an interview in July that the 95.4B yen ($961M) Olympic Village complex would occupy a 109-acre parcel of land next to Tokyo Bay "and would be financed by developers." Kimura said that the government plans to spend 153.8B yen ($1.5B) "for new construction and renovations at 11 sites" (BLOOMBERG, 9/8). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Mander & Soble wrote Tokyo is promising a "compact" and "downtown" Olympics with most venues located near the center of the city and within a few kilometers of the athletes' village. A "futuristic-looking main stadium is to be built on the site of the athletics stadium" from '64 (FT, 9/8).

TRADITION AND STABILITY: REUTERS' Ossian Shine wrote IOC presidential candidate Thomas Bach said that "it had been a choice between a traditional stronghold and new shores." Bach said, "This time the IOC members -- in a fragile world -- have decided in favor of tradition and stability." The country's financial might and its position in the world's most dynamic continent "proved irresistible." The Japanese capital flashed a $4.5B war-chest in front of the IOC a year before the vote, "assuring them money for the Games was already in the bank." This "was music to the ears of an IOC membership acutely sensitive to the impact the global economic downturn of recent years has had on sports, especially at a grass-roots level" (REUTERS, 9/8). KYODO reported people in Tokyo rejoiced Saturday "as the city was chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympics" by the IOC in Buenos Aires. Close to 2,000 people watching a live broadcast of the IOC's general session on a large screen at the Komazawa Olympic Park gymnasium "erupted in cheers as IOC President Jacques Rogge opened the envelope holding the results of voting and read the city's name" at around 5:20am. Gold ticker tape shot over the crowd, "many of whom had spent the night there ahead of the vote by IOC members" (KYODO, 9/8). XINHUA's Day, Chao & Tian wrote "some Tokyoites thought obtaining the opportunity is an inspiring success for Japan after the devastating March 11 earthquake more than two years ago." Miki Koda, a 34-year-old housewife who alluded to losing family members in 2011 said, "It's an historic day for Tokyo and Japan. We really needed this good news today as a nation and after all the suffering from the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The country really needed to hear some good news" (XINHUA, 9/8).

IS IT SAFE? In London, David McNeill wrote "many have expressed concerns that a litany of crises faced by the Japanese government makes it entirely unsuitable to host such a global event." Experts "have blamed Japan's government and nuclear regulators for taking their eye off the Fukushima clean-up" since Abe returned to power late last year. Former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland Mitsuhei Murata said, "It is immoral to invite the Olympic Games to Japan where the health environment cannot be secured." He called for Tokyo's bid to be withdrawn until what he called Japan's "lack of crisis" is remedied (INDEPENDENT, 9/8). 

AUSSIES PLEASED: In Sydney, Jacquelin Magnay wrote Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said that "winning the 2020 Olympics was the best result for Australian athletes." Coates said that Tokyo's similar time zone and proximity to Australia, coupled with Australia's history of strong results in Asian countries, "meant winning medals in Tokyo would be far easier than if the rival options of Istanbul or Madrid had won" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/9).