Economist Richard Koo starts off his note with a fascinating little commentary on the news that Japan has won the Olympic games for 2020.
Cheers went up across Japan last week as the International Olympic Committee decided to award the 2020 Summer Games to Tokyo. Although Japan’s diplomatic relations with China and Korea appear to be deadlocked, its successful bid for the Olympics shows that: at least with the exception of those two countries: Japan is still highly regarded by the international community.
There was a strong sense that the victorious bid was the result of efforts by “Team Japan.” Instead of the usual presentations by members of the bid committee, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, himself a former Olympic athlete with excellent English skills, kicked off the campaign in London, and as part of the final appeal Princess Hisako, a member of the royal family, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took time off from the G20 summit, helped make the case for Tokyo’s bid.
For people in Japan, this effort created an impression of their country very different from the previous one of a nation lacking in cohesion and uncertain where it is headed. This belief that Japan can do anything if people work together should enhance the economic impact of holding the Olympics.