Thursday, February 13, 2014

Japan's Unfun Olympics

Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games members.
Source: Japan Olympic Commitee website

Japan seems on course for a horrid Olympics. Not the games in Sochi, which are progressing pretty much as can be reasonably expected, the only real negative surprise being World Cup sensation Takanashi Sara’s failure to medal on the normal hill.

No, the games that are shaping up to be a downer are the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. One does not have to be looking under rocks for yakuza, as Jake Adelstein would have us do (admittedly, it would take a huge rock to hide the oily bulk of International Sumo Federation chairman Tanaka Hidetoshi - Link). One just has to look at the membership of the Japan Olympic Committee's executive board (Link) and the announced lineup of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo Orinpikku Pararinpikku Soshinki Iinkai).

The JOC has 30 members, 2 of whom seem to be women of the female persuasion. The JOC is supposed to be face of Japan's Olympic movement and not even 7% of it is allowed to be feminine?

As for the Soshiki Iinkai, it currently has no women members.

Possibly worse than the exclusion of women is the exclusion of anyone with experience running events or in sports management or sports promotion. Instead, the non-automatic, appointed membership of the board is a collection of Abe Shinzo cronies from politics, the bureaucracy and megabusiness, only one of whom is under 70 years of age.

Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Chairman - Former Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro (76)
[Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's former faction leader]

Honorary Chairman - Canon Chairman and President Mitarai Fujio (78)
[Former chairman of the Nippon Keidanren -- his term of service being a grand step backward for the organization]

Vice-Chairman - Former Vice Minister of Finance Muto Toshiro (70)

[Twice failed candidate for Governor of Bank of Japan, most recently suggested by Abe Shinzo]

Vice Chairman - Toyota Motors President Toyoda Akio (57)
[vocal and loyal supporter of Abenomics - see picture]

Executive-Director - JOC President Takeda Tsunekazu (66)
[automatic selection]

(Link - J)

Is anyone clear on the concept that we are in 2014 -- and that Tokyo will be hosting the Olympics in 2020? Mitarai will be 84 years old; Mori 82. I have nothing against experience and street cred with the nation's largest corporations -- but it is my understanding that the Olympics are sort of a celebration of vitality -- which, if it is going to be exhibited by the present members of the committee, will probably require intravenous drips.

As for "fun" -- or however much fun is left in hosting the Olympics after they are wrested from Vladimir Putin’s stainless steel grip -- the quintet so far? Not fun people (Well maybe Mori). Toyoda, the stripling, plays the "tense and defensive oyaji" role about as well as it can be played.

With the exception of Takeda, all of the members of the committee are folks to whom Abe Shinzo owes favors. It is true that one has to pay the piper and dance with thems that brung you. But do we all have to be condemned to a construction industry and zaikai hog fest, with the details probably assigned to Dentsu, just because Abe owes his current position to big business bosses?


Unknown said...

Sochi may well be forgotten by 2020, when Tokyo will been seen in contrast to (fun) Brazil '16 and (not a lot more fun than Japan but more exuberant) South Korea '18.

John said...

Example of Mori's Olympic Spirit