JAPAN YET TO RUN RINGS AROUND 40-YEAR OLYMPICS CURSE

BY DAVID LEE

In Japanese culture, the number four is feared and fended against because it sounds like death.

The number 40 is unlikely to evoke positive sentiments either, after Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso last week declared the Tokyo Olympics a 40-year curse.

Mr Aso made the comment before the International Olympic Committee agreed with Japan on Tuesday to the first Olympic postponement in Games history owing to the global coronavirus pandemic.

He told a parliamentary committee last week: “It’s a problem that’s happened every 40 years – it’s the cursed Olympics, and that’s a fact.”

The jinx started in 1940, when the Olympics hosting rights were taken from Tokyo and handed to Helsinki before the Games were cancelled altogether against the backdrop of World War II.

Tokyo had been the first non-Western city to win an Olympic bid, but as the war intensified, countries had asked for a different venue and threatened a boycott.

A boycott did materialise – 40 years later.

-The Straits Times