'Tradition and Stability' Win as Tokyo Selected to Host 2020 Olympics

With the selection of Tokyo over Istanbul and Madrid as the host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, continuing concerns over radioactivity trumped social instability and a deep economic recession as the least dangerous alternative.

56 years after it first hosted a Summer Olympics, the world's athletic attention will be focused again on the Japanese capital. "Tokyo presented its bid as a 'safe pair of hands,' an appeal that clearly resonated with Olympic officials," report Jere Longman and Martin Fackler in The New York Times. Japanese economists are optimistic that the games will help spur the country's economic recovery.

"The awarding of the Games to Tokyo, the sprawling Japanese metropolis of 13 million people, is a welcome boost for the nation after the tsunami and nuclear disaster that laid waste to its northern Pacific coast two years ago," write Hiroko Tabuchi and Joshua Hunt. "But the Olympics will heighten global scrutiny of Japan’s containment and cleanup efforts at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, about 155 miles north of Tokyo."

"The 2020 Games will also increase pressure on Japan to put its public finances in order," they add. "Japan’s government debt has increased to more than twice the size of its $6 trillion economy, in large part because of the costs of caring for the country’s increasingly elderly population. Tokyo’s organizing committee has budgeted the Olympics at about $10 billion, including the cost of constructing venues and improving transport infrastructure." 

Full Story: Hopes for Renewal in Japan, but Also a Host of Challenges

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