Envisaged as an event to remind the world of Japan’s leadership aspirations and innovation power and to fully establish it as a tourism magnet, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 have turned out to be a completely different story. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the games had to be postponed to 2021 and eventually took place from July 23 until August 8 during a declared state of emergency banning fans from the venues. As Japan had been facing a fifth COVID-19 wave ahead of the Olympic Games, a large majority of Japan’s population preferred to delay it for another year or even to cancel it altogether. What was meant to be a showcase of the abilities of the current government and a culmination of its achievements, caused another plunge of Prime Minister Suga’s approval ratings and thus became an important factor for his decision to step down in view of the upcoming elections this fall.
Two months after the Olympic Games 2021, we would like to hold an online workshop on 7–8 October about the impact of the Games and the gap between original aspirations and concrete results. Therefore, we will have sessions on the following topics: the political economy of Olympics, political communication, historic perspectives, diversity, social movements and voluntarism, technology and innovation, mass media and public discourse. Our panel discussion at the end of the Workshop tackles the question: “What remains?”
The Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies is conducting the online workshop in cooperation with the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (VSJF).
Prof. Dr. David Chiavacci, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, University of Zurich
Dr. Iris Wieczorek, GIGA Institute for Asian Studies