Nine Days Left…

Curzon is pumped for the 2016 Olympics — I really hope Tokyo wins the big to host the Olympics, and the decision is to come out on October 2, just nine days away.

I gave an overview of the four candidate cities at ComingAnarchy more than a year ago, and I might as well share the background with MF readers as the date of decision approaches.

In June 2008, four candidate cities were chosen for the shortlist on when a complete “bid score” was issued to aid the decision-making process. The finalists: Tokyo, Madrid, Chicago, and Rio de Janeiro.


+ Tokyo — score 8.3
+ Madrid — score 8.1
+ Chicago —score 7.0
+ Rio de Janeiro — score 6.4

Elminated Candidates:
+ Baku — score 4.3
+ Doha — score 6.9
+ Prague — score 5.3
(Doha received a higher score than Rio de Janeiro but was eliminated because it wanted to hold the games in October, not August.)

Here’s a brief overview, with more details from Wikipedia here.

The last summer Olympic games to be hosted by the Americas was the 1996 Games in Atlanta, and Chicago has an extensive public transit system, a wide range of venues, and a strong sports culture. Five new venues and eleven temporary venues will be built for the games. Chicago is reported to be the strongest contender in terms of infrastructure, public support, and money, but is still deemed to be behind Tokyo and Madrid in the technical aspect.

Madrid benefits from its strong reputation from the 2012 bid as well as having 85% of venues already in place and experience in hosting Olympic qualifying events. One potential problem is that no continent has hosted successive Summer Games since 1952, when Helsinki followed London as host city, and London is hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics and Sochi, Russia is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro boasts natural beauty and recently hosted the XV Pan American Games. International Olympic Committee head Jacques Rogge expressed eagerness to have either South America or Africa host the Games, as neither have ever served as hosts. However, it has a weak bid because of poor infrastructure and high crime rate.

Tokyo is touting “the most compact and efficient Olympic Games ever” with a setting on the shores of Tokyo Bay, refurbishing a run-down industrial area and reclaiming land from the bay, and stressing its “green” approach to plans. Tokyo boasts the highest technical score and has great infrastructure, but has the weakest public support of all candidates. Also, like Madrid, its bid is weakened by the recent regional hosting by Beijing.

Will Tokyo win because of its high score? Chicago because it’s “America’s turn”? Madrid because of its existing infrastructure? Or Rio de Janeiro because of continental favoritism/OIC “Affirmative Action”? Stay tuned, the decision is just nine days away.

Surprise! You’re Brazilian

Awesome citizenship story from an Asahi reporter (translated from page 11 of the Asahi Shimbun April 10 morning edition):

[Correspondent’s Notebook] Sao Paolo, Brazil: A Dubious Fine

I paid a fine the other day.

The reason? It was my duty as a Brazilian.

I was born in Brazil due to my father’s job, but after returning to Japan at age 1 I was raised as a Japanese and never doubted otherwise.

All that changed when the decision was made to dispatch me to Sao Paolo. I headed to the Consulate General Brazil of Brazil in Tokyo to apply for a visa, but they refused to issue one, telling me, “You are a Brazilian.” They said I had no standing to get a visa as visas can only be issued to foreigners.

Brazil is a jus solis country, meaning that you automatically receive citizenship if you are born there. Well I never… Slightly confused, I accepted the green Brazilian passport and headed to my post.

In Sao Paolo, I tried to get my ID card and was told I needed to register to vote. On top of that, since I had neglected to register at age 18, they ordered me to pay a fine. Voting is mandatory in Brazil.

Though I retorted, “Until recently I was a Japanese living in Japan,” the official was ready with a comeback: “Just the other day, a native came in here and insisted, ‘I was living in the jungle until now, so I had no idea about registering to vote.’ But rules are rules!”

Not totally satisfied with the explanation, I gave up and paid the fine of 3.5 real (160 yen or USD $1.60).

(Ari Hirayama)


Check the Adamukun blog for Adamu’s shared articles and recommended links.

Japan exports compared internationally – OUCH

Just saw this chart in an FT article about Malaysia:


Not good! Also, they seem to have taken a bigger hit than Brazil as well:

But Brazilians might beat their own record in the first quarter of 2009, as a thrifty American consumer and less demand for oil have hit Brazil hard. Overall exports fell 26 percent in the first two months of this year, and they make up one-third of GDP.

Japan’s exports only make up about 16% of GDP, so the impact of a year-on-year 46% drop would be equivalent to a 23% drop in Brazil, but it’s still a near halving of the driver of economic growth over the past few years, and other aspects of Japan’s economy such as domestic consumption or the public sector (depending on government action) seem to offer little hope.