Yesterday, the Land of the Rising Sun awoke to find its capital in jubilation. In 2020, Tokyo will play host to the Summer Olympics.
For many, the joy is accentuated by the long wait since the city’s last successful Olympic bid—nearly 60 years. But the newfound jubilee and anticipation cannot mask the sobering realities that will follow Japan into 2020.
Heightened radiation levels and an unchecked deluge of irradiated water remind the Japanese people that the worst nuclear disaster in decades is far from over. Despite attempts at PR damage control, Japan’s nuclear energy officials and nuclear company TEPCO remain at odds and at a loss for progress.
Meanwhile, the costs of infrastructure and maintenance will highlight Japan’s financial woes: a $12 trillion national debt and a public expenditures system under strain.
The Olympic Games are often a chance to showcase a nation’s strength and splendor. But even this can be tampered by the host’s current challenges and uncertain future. The bright hope of the Rising Sun’s new honor will cast long shadows.