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Hosting the Olympics won’t raise Japan’s economic game

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Struggling for new rationales to ram his wildly unpopular conspiracy bill into law recently, Shinzo Abe pulled a creative one out of his bag of spin: the 2020 Olympics.

Japan, the prime minster hinted, might have to cancel the Tokyo Games if legislation empowering the police to arrest people for crimes they haven’t yet committed didn’t pass — even keeping a straight face. We’ve seen this movie before: “Minority Report,” Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi take on a future where “pre-crime” cops do their worst. Yet Japan may be courting a dystopia of another kind by its pinning the future on a few sporting events three years from now.

As Abe’s team details plans to revive growth and increase competitiveness, four numbers keep coming up: 2020. When officials explain how they plan to boost innovation and increase Japan’s soft-power footprint, five rings keep coming up: those of the International Olympic Committee. When asked for Japan’s strategy to compete in an increasingly Chinese world, Abe’s team consistently serves up some variation of “just wait until the Summer Games — you’ll see!”

The naivete at play in these views is evidenced by the official vision for Tokyo 2020: “The Tokyo 1964 games completely transformed Japan. The Tokyo 2020 games, as the most innovative in history, will bring positive reform to the world.” The Japanese Olympic........

© The Japan Times