Jul 12, 2015

Would 2020 Olympics Change Japan?

Because my office of a PR firm is located in Ginza, one of the most popular places in Japan for the decent shopping street, I naturally see the ebb and flow of tourists. Now is the time with increasing number of overseas tourists notably Chinese.


When I was strolling about town for lunch the other day, for example, a Chinese couple asked me where ASICS shop selling running shoes is in Chinese. I first answered in English, then realized they don't get it, so I tried my best with poor Chinese and walked with them just for a few minutes down to the shop, exchanging easy conversations like "Where have you been in China" etc. It was a fun, pleasant moment filled with hospitality spirit.


To take advantage of such massive inflow of Chinese tourists, PR firms and consultants today are actively holding study sessions and seminars to discuss how to engage in PR for Japanese firms wishing to appeal Chinese customers. What stroke me was a comment by a Chinese speaking professional stationed in mainland; "When a Chinese tourist goes to a shop in Japan and there is no signs and instructions in Chinese, he/she feels discriminated. 'Oh, I'm not welcomed at all!' that's the impression the Chinese visitor would get." 


That was quite alarming to me, a Japanese native using English as a second language. Japanese is such a minor language in the world, so I would be rather surprised to see Japanese signs overseas. Apparently Chinese speakers totals 1.3 billion consisting of the second largest economy in the world, whereas English speakers totals merely 500 million. So, prioritizing Chinese description rather than English may be logical when you want to facilitate Chinese tourists to shop in Japan.


In many countries where the official language is so dominant like Japan, infrastructures to help foreign visitors with their languages tend to be scarce. This cause frustrations of those inbound visitors and even conflicts sometimes. That's what Japanese governments and firms are trying to address with self-reform and multi-language support. At the same time, China is nurturing international mind to behave overseas. Hopefully the combination would lessen accidental tension between Chinese visitors with Japan local stores like the shopping spree. This is how nations change themselves to benefit with each other.


The Diplomat

Jun 12, 2015

Japan’s China-Driven Tourism Boom

Yahoo! Travel

Apr 14, 2015

China Tells Its Tourists: Behave Overseas, Or Else...


Now under the way to host 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan needs to firm up its national strategy over how to position itself in the world to facilitate inbound visitors and drive domestic growth. 

Historically, Japan tends to be conservative about making changes unless forced by foreign countries/conditions. Yet, this time no one else would force Japan to design its future path, unlike bilateral negotiations between Japan and China which primary focus is on how the other would move.


Discussions toward the 2020 Olympics need to be elaborated, initially around how to pay off the stadium construction cost.  

The Japan Sport Council’s advisory panel on Jul 7 approved a blueprint for the new National Stadium, although how to make payment of 252 billion JPY (=over 2 billion USD, 1.3 billion GBP, or 1.8 billion EUR which is over 1.5 billion EUR equivalent to the amount Greece missed the repayment to IMF on Jun 30) is left pending. The nation is challenged by domestic controversy over the stadium plan which is based on a complicated construction method expected to result in a lengthy construction period, high cost of building and operation, and damage of the surrounding landscape including the greenery landscape in the outer gardens of the Meiji Shrine. Furthermore, the expected construction boom masks local problems of the high-paced aging population and low fertility rate, which would put Tokyo into a bleak future once the 2020 games are over. 

Would Japan be able to challenge itself to reform the plan and make a compromise for better?


The Japan Times

Jul 8, 2015

New Olympic stadium dilemma: where to find ¥252 billion

The Japan Times

Jun 9, 2015

Rethink Olympic stadium design


Jul 9, 2015

Construction boom for Olympics masks problems

The immediate cost or a balance sheet overview concerning Olympics can be simply compiled by counting the investment made in stadium, athlete accommodations, security arrangements, and other infrastructure investments, and counting ticket revenues, tourist spending around the event, money inflow from infrastructure improvements etc according to History Stack Exchange.

Montreal 1976 remains the worst Olympic event for a host city financially; The net debt was said to be around 1.5 billion USD and was finally paid off in 2006. Athens 2004 was also reported to be run at a net loss. Beijing, Los Angeles and Seoul were found to be a net financial success (although reliable estimates for Beijing games are not publicly available).

The latest London Olympics was tagged as an ‘economic failure’ by Nouriel Roubini since many local shopkeepers had reported a drop in activity, reports CNBC.

Accordingly, unless Japan manages the balance sheet over Olympics as well as corresponding social shift, the nation would end up with depts and pains. 


History Stack Exchange

Aug 12, 2012

Which have been the most and least successful Olympics in terms of economic impact? 


Aug 6 2012

London Olympics an ‘Economic Failure’: Roubini

Thus, moving toward the 2020 Olympics implies to the need of extensive PR efforts both domestically and internationally. 

As a Japanese native, I wish lasting success and unbiased hospitality to be achieved without damaging the environment and future. Reconsideration of the Olympic stadium plan would bring an opportunity for the nation to make a change rather than just insisting on saving face, and graduate from a tradition follower to an innovator of the prestigious world games.  

Well, it's time for me to design how to take part of it and make every contribution possible.