Monday, 9 September 2013
Time For Games
The Olympics are coming to Tokyo.
It’s reasonable to take the view that this is a wonderful thing, it revitalises the Japanese nation after the tough time it has had since the tsunami and that nuclear mishap in Fukushima (Don’t say the F-word, it’s bad for business-- Ed.) It’s reasonable to point to the enormous costs and pointless public works that will pour billions into corporations’ hands at the expense of the taxpayers as Tokyo gets another 10 stadiums to squeeze into it’s already asphalted footprint. You could take the reasonable view that the Olympics are largely a waste of time and effort but if anyone can absorb the waste, Tokyo can.
But to Hell with reasonable.
It’s been two and half years since the tsunami, and still thousands of people are living in worn out temporary prefab houses in shanty towns. Many children don’t have access to playing fields, let alone neighbourhood schools. And that’s to say nothing of the continuing cock-up in Fukushima that proves day in and day out that 3/11 is not over.
But Tokyo can find an extra five billion bucks to bring the circus to town, get to wallow in the wholly unmerited symbolism of a nation that has overcome adversity, when in fact all it has done is overcome its guilt, happy to consign Tohoku to annual TV specials and to get on with selling Japan Inc. with added Olympic Spirit.
Oh, but Our Man, don’t be unreasonable. The tsunami was hardly Tokyo’s fault and it has to move on. The people of Tohoku will all be uplifted by the Olympics. It’s not either/or. We can have our Olympic cake and eat it!
Maybe Our Man is just being a Grumpy Old Man, but…
As long as the Tokyo higher-ups cash in on the tsunami victims for sympathy but do nothing to ease their plight, as long as the Tokyo Electric Power Company continues to botch the cleanup of Fukushima and evade all responsibility, there’s no time for games just yet.