The announcement for a second Japanese Summer Olympics in 2020 sent cheers of jubilation through all of Tokyo. For 79-year-old tobacco salesman, however, the event brings back haunting memories of 1964’s games when he lost his home and livelihood.
This year he will have to uproot his entire life once again.
At 30, Kohei Jinno was in the prime of his life when the 1964 summer Olympics were awarded to Japan. Considered a serious boost to a nation’s pride as well as economy, for Jinno the games had the opposite effect. Both his home and business were torn down to make room for tje country's main Olympic park in Tokyo.
He resettled in another town until the government gave him a replacement home located at the edge of the new stadium where his abode once stood.
Unfortunately for him, the 2020 Olympic games require a bigger and grander stage for one of world’s greatest sporting events, and Jinno’s home is smack In the middle of the park’s expansion trajectory.
Tokyo is also planning on building 22 of 37 planned Olympic venues from scratch.
Relocation is nothing new for the Japanese who have been recovering from a tsunami that devastated the nation’s north-east region in 2011, killing 18,000 people and leaving close to 300,000 homeless to this day.
The Olympic announcement has led to a debate questioning whether the Japanese government should focus on rehabilitation rather than development.
Eighty-six-year-old Fukushima resident, Kuniyuki Mori, has been living 60 km from the tsunami-damaged nuclear plant since he left his coastal home after the disaster struck.
“I want something to be done about our lives now, not something for the Olympics seven years from now,” he told the local newspaper Kahoku Shimpo.
Japan has already begun planning for the anticipated event. Preparations include billion- dollar budgets for the development of Tokyo’s infrastructure, including an Olympic Village which will house a 80,000-seat main stadium.