The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo. Is it a sign that Japan is back after two decades of stagnation?
Hosting the sporting pageant is often seen as an extension of national power. China used the 2008 Games to announce its arrival on the world stage. South Korea hosted the 1988 Games after its spectacular economic growth had catapulted its people put of poverty. Japan had hosted the 1964 Olympics to showcase a new democratic nation that had arisen from the ashes of World War II.
In that sense, Tokyo 2020 could be seen as a victory for Abenomics. But it is also good to remember some other examples. Mexico was the host in 1968, a few years before the crushing Latin American debt crisis. South Korea was hit less than a decade after the Seoul Games. Bankrupt Greece was host in 2004. And Brazil is facing massive public protests even before the best athletes come to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.