People spell out the words "THANK YOU" at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Sunday, after Tokyo won its bid to be the host city of the 2020 Olympics. Tokyo won the right to host the Games for the second time, overcoming fears about radiation from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant to land the 2020 edition of the world's biggest sporting event. Photo: AFP
Tokyo finally won the bid to host the 2020 Olympics. It is reported that its 600 million dollars budget surpasses that of Madrid and Istanbul combined. Although the Sino-Japanese relationship has gone into its worst period in the last 40 years, we still want to offer our congratulations to Japan, and wish the Olympic Games a success.
Many analysts believe that this successful bid instills great political significance into Japan. It will help the country regain confidence, boost morale and maybe start another economic takeoff.
If it is true, that the Olympics will help reverse Japan's social mood, we will be happy with it. Japan's economic slowdown has continued for more than 20 years, and China's rise has made Japan feel much more lost. The expanding lack of confidence causes and reinforces Japan's move to the right. Being tough and provocative toward China is just an extreme embodiment of its frustration and confusion. Japan is trying to behave strong but is hiding its weakness and even fear.
The successful bid has profoundly reinvigorated Japanese society, which will be beneficial to the rest of Northeast Asia. Japan has been playing an aggressive role in this region when facing territorial and historical issues with its neighbors but the Olympics will produce some pressure for Japan to realize the importance of self-restraint.
However, it needs to be pointed out that Japan has done a lousy job in reflecting its misdeeds in World War II. If Japan continues on the old path, such as hyping up the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine, China and South Korea can take advantage of the public attention on the Olympics and let the rest of the world reconsider whether Japan, a country which has been paying high tribute to brutal war criminals for years, is qualified to host such an event that advocates peace and harmony.
Japan's aggressiveness has left both China and Japan at a stalemate around the Diaoyu Islands, which have witnessed many conflicts between both nations' marine law enforcement forces. Japan will have to keep a low profile before the Olympics to avoid any military conflicts. This will guarantee the stability and peace of the East China Sea, which will be beneficial to the whole of East Asia.
Japan's "second rise" will not pose strategic threats to China, on the contrary, it will provide new stimulus for the economic development and cooperation of East Asian countries. Japan's development has an upper limit, China is not afraid of the nation becoming strong but concerned about its recklessness driven by jealousy and fear.
The Japanese government and many friendly organizations paid their congratulations when Beijing won the bid for the 2008 Olympics back in 2001, but in the meantime, the torch relay was also disturbed by Japanese right-wing groups.
Being different from Japan, China will show its open-mindedness and generosity in the event of the Tokyo Olympics.
Japan should learn how to behave itself. China is eager to see Japan and East Asia experience the next seven years in a stable and positive manner.