Japan has earmarked $7.3 billion to build a new stadium and other infrastructure in anticipation of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, even as the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes that the Games will provide Japan with a psychological boost, help him revive the nation’s struggling economy and breathe life into the business of sports.
As this year’s Games closed in Rio de Janeiro, excitement was already building in Japan, which won 41 medals in Rio—its best Olympic performance.
However, the budget for the Games is expected to rise, in addition to billions of dollars for upgrading transport networks. The central bank says that investment will boost Japan’s gross domestic product by up to 0.3 percentage point annually in the next two to three years.
Mr. Abe hopes the Olympics will help him meet his goal of doubling the number of annual tourists to the country to 40 million by 2020, two years after his term ends.
More broadly, Mr. Abe proposes to make sports “a core industry” as part of his effort to boost Japan’s nominal GDP by 20% from the 2015 level.
Japan’s sports industry, which includes production and distribution of sports gear, the organizing and broadcasting of sports events, and operation of sports facilities, generated sales of $55 billion in 2012. That was more than a fifth less than it was in 2002, the government said, due mainly to the population’s graying and decline.
Now, the government wants to double the sports industry by 2020 and triple it by 2025, making sports entertainment part of everyday life. The Abe administration is calling for building more attractive sports stadiums, expanding audience engagement programmes at sports events, increasing sports-related travel, and popularising sports viewing at pubs and restaurants.