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  • Tokyo 2020 Should Support a Peaceful World -- Op Ed


    02/25/15

    The Olympic flag flies over the opening ceremony at Seoul 1988. (Getty Images)
    I visited Seoul last week at the first time in five years.

    While there, I went to Olympic Park, where I often paid a call to negotiate with the Organizing Committee for the accreditation, accommodation and other related matters with Japanese Olympic Delegation for the Seoul Olympic Games 1988 as a liaison officer of the Japanese Olympic Team.

    It was a tough negotiation on that occasion, but this time the 1.4-square km Olympic Park was very calm place where I saw an old lady pushing a baby carriage and two boys playing with skateboards.

    I had a very sentimental feeling about this scene with my Olympic memory.

    However, when I looked up to the sky, the big gate with the Olympic symbol towered over the little light of Olympic flame. It seems to symbolize that Olympism can never die in Seoul. 

    An interactive exhibit on prejudice at the Seoul Olympic museum (Ryoichi Kasuga)
    The light sits by a monument, on which is inscribed "Seoul Peace Declaration." It was difficult to read the weather‐beaten text with gold letters, but it said that the Olympics must aim at peace in the world.

    When I entered into the Olympic Museum, I was interested in the special exhibition, "Olympism and prejudice." It shows how Olympism overcomes prejudice through more than 30 panels.

    I remembered my friends of Korean Olympic authority and was very impressed with that they had tried to deliver the Olympic Movement. One of panels asked a question to us: what color is your skin? We should choose a color among many colors the panels showed. I chose one, but it was incorrect. After I tore a leaf from the panel, another leaf behind showed an African athlete. In fact, every color I saw was his skin, which differs depending on the part of the body. I was surprised with my prejudice.

    The organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been emphasized Olympic legacy. Certainly, Olympic Games must leave something for the future. It is the key for the sustainability of the Olympic Movement.

    The message of the exhibit on prejudice revealed (Ryoichi Kasuga)
    But to speak about their true intention, they seem to desire just the economic revitalization and recovery, do they not? There is no plan of action for peace in the world. If we ask for Olympic legacy in true meaning, the legacy shall be "the realization of world peace through sport."

    From my personal viewpoint, capitalism and socialism could not create the world without war. However, Olympism can be only a light for the peaceful world under such circumstances, which are getting more and more chaotic.

    Sport is a unique culture under which we respect our opponents, love ourselves and discover the joy of efforts through body and mind. If more embody this philosophy, this world will be changed. Olympic City, Seoul, has an Olympic Park and intention to deliver Olympism.

    Why do not we combust such a light of peace in Tokyo Olympics 2020? I believe it will be possible for Japan, which has renounced war in its constitution, to support the realization of a peaceful world through sport. Japan must address this issue clearly. That is the inevitable mission for the 32nd Games of Olympiad in Tokyo.

    Op ed submitted by former Japanese Olympic Committee director and sport philosopher Ryoichi Kasuga

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