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YCAPS Webinar: TOKYO 2021! Delays, Soft Power & US-Japan Relations

On 23 July 2020, the day originally planned for the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies YCAPS and JUMP organized a webinar to discuss the decision to delay the Olympics by one year and the impacts of that decision on Japan’s international relationships. Nancy Snow, the Pax Mundi Professor of Public Diplomacy, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies; Dan Cintron; the Olympic Coordinator at the US Embassy Tokyo and Risa Kamio, a member of the Setagaya City Assembly engaged in a vigorous conversation with each other, their moderator and more than 40 people who logged in from around the world.

The moderator opened by noting the current politically controversy surrounding in the Olympics in Japan.

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This week a Kyodo News poll found that fewer than 24% of respondents are in favor of the new schedule. Most respondents desired further delay or outright cancellation. However, Prime Minister Abe’s surrogates, including previous YCAPS seminar leaders, argue that the Olympics will be a powerful demonstration of Japan’s resilience and strength. In particular, these voices argue that when the world’s eyes are on Tokyo, Japan will rise to the challenge and the result will be an international affairs victory. Those involved in the discussion were aware of the challenges ahead, but were generally optimistic and especially valued prospects for developing people-to-people times and engaging youth with the game.