Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Weekly Comic: The Show Must Go On

EconomyJul 27, 2021 12:22PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Investing.com

By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com -- Every Olympic Games throws up its heroic wins and gallant losers. What makes the Tokyo Olympic Games of 2021 unique is that the losers may, overwhelmingly, be the Japanese people.

First, there is the sheer expense of staging the games. Even though the government’s borrowing costs are near zero and the central bank has shown for years that it can quietly monetize the government’s debt without too much trouble, the final estimate of $20 billion is still a massive sum of money, largely underwritten by taxpayers.

Then there is the scale of the cost overrun: The final cost of the games will be about triple what was originally promised ($7.4 billion), although some $2.8 billion of that is attributed to the games being postponed last year – something largely beyond the organizers’ control. Only three Summer Games in the modern era have overshot by more, measured against their original estimates: Barcelona in 1992, Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and - way out in a class of its own - Montreal in 1976, which came in sevenfold over budget.

With spectators all but completely banned, the organizers will miss out on an estimated $800 million of ticket sales, as well as a broader boost to tourism revenue. This admittedly should not be overplayed, since neither of the last two Summer Games appear to have generated sustained increases in tourism revenue for the U.K. or Brazil. But even so, it remains a frustrating missed opportunity to raise the country’s global profile.

All this will pale into insignificance if, as many Japanese have vociferously argued, the Games become a super-spreader event for Covid-19, sending Japan into lockdown. Tokyo prefecture - which was put under a state of emergency earlier this month - reported its highest-ever daily number of new cases on Tuesday, at 2,848. Nationwide, the number of new cases has risen from barely 1,000 to 5,000 in the last month. Hospital admissions are rising back toward the peaks seen in the last two waves.

The absolute numbers may still look small relative to Japan’s population, but the combination of the highly-transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19 with a low current vaccination rate (only 31% of adults are fully vaccinated, according to Reuters) and the world’s oldest population (median age: 46) has obvious potential for trouble.  

“If the (Olympic Games) trigger the spread of infections and necessitate another emergency declaration, then the economic loss would be much greater,” Nomura analyst Takahide Kiuchi said in a recent note to clients quoted by Reuters last week.

There is, inevitably, much argument over the degree to which the Games are responsible for spreading Covid-19 within the local community. Since July 1, only 155 cases have been attributed to athletes, officials and others who are supposed to be within a secure Olympic Village bubble. However, the sense of grievance that locals are feeling about being second-class citizens, confined at home so as to allow the Games to proceed in a lower-risk environment, is deep and real. No wonder that Toyota, a top-level sponsor, pulled millions of dollars’ worth of ads from national television to distance itself from an event that its home market has learned to hate.

But for now, that worst-case scenario is still only hypothetical. And it is clear that not all Covid-related risks materialize. Only three weeks ago, the U.K. was experiencing similar levels of alarm as the government prepared to lift the last legal restrictions on social distancing and mask-wearing. Since then, case numbers have fallen sharply, appearing to vindicate the government's calculated gamble.

The same could yet happen in Japan. A subtle and imaginative opening ceremony, the quality of the venues (both new and refurbished) and some extraordinary victories by Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui and Austrian cyclist Anna Kiesenhofer, have shown that the Tokyo games still have the potential to captivate and inspire. Japan’s taxpayers may never see their money again, but they may still live long enough to stop bothering how much it all cost. With a bit of old-fashioned Olympic magic, they may even secure enough medals and memories to think it was all worthwhile yet.

However, as of today, you would still find plenty of locals to take the other side of that bet. 

Weekly Comic: The Show Must Go On
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (5)
Tony Cheng
Tony Cheng Jul 27, 2021 3:59PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Forget these gold medals, they are not worth it for Japanese taxpayers to fund. Especially when you have low class "sports" like German rugby and gangster skateboarding on the menu. No one should have to pay any money to fund those items of no interest.
Eduardo Azevedo
Eduardo Azevedo Jul 27, 2021 3:59PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
You are right. Everyone should only follow the sports you fancy, your majesty... Let's also kick surfing out of the games, because only low class blond gangsters care about it! 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️ Pathetic
Arsenii Raspopov
Arsenii Raspopov Jul 27, 2021 3:47PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
A very nice article, thanks!
Karim Adatia
Karim Adatia Jul 27, 2021 3:11PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Well written. You make some good points that I hadn't considered before.
Karim Adatia
Karim Adatia Jul 27, 2021 3:11PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Well written. You make some good points that I hadn't considered before.
David David
David9 Jul 27, 2021 1:50PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
This is nothing... today the stock market erases billions and billions...
Linda Mary
Linda Mary Jul 27, 2021 1:50PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
hello
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email