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Olympics cancellation likely to sock populace with nasty tax surprise

23 Comments

Continuity. Con-ti-nu-i-ty. That's the five-syllable meme being brandished by new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. In other words, things are just going to keep sailing along smoothly, just as they were under the helm of his predecessor Shinzo Abe, without any nasty surprises in the nation's bodily politic. 

It's sort of reassuring to the voters, n'est pas? 

But Shukan Taishu (Sept 28-Oct 5) warns readers to be on guard for some unexpected surprises. For one thing, while John Coates, who heads the IOC's Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games, proclaimed on Sept 7 that despite the coronavirus pandemic, "All of our planning is proceeding on the basis that the Games will take place on the 23rd of July next year." 

The magazine cautions that Coates' remarks are no more than a "trial balloon" aimed at dispelling the mood to cancel the games. 

Two weeks prior to Coates' remarks, on Aug 22, the head of the International Association of Athletics Federations Sebastian Coe, MP and a member of the IOC, remarked that sport will need to "think outside the box" in the case of next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo being cancelled. 

Apparently in addition to the pandemic, Abe's  departure from the scene has had an influence on Japan's determination toward moving forward with the games. 

In the view of a reporter on the desk of a major daily newspaper, "Abe's resignation is viewed as an unstable element influencing risk management as far as the holding of the games is concerned." 

"I am 200% convinced that the games, postponed to next summer, are going to be cancelled," political commentator Jiro Honzawa told the magazine. "If that happens, the 19 trillion yen in revenues anticipated from inbound visitors, will go to zero. The impact will be further felt by the already suffering hotels, travel agencies, restaurants and so on, which can expect losses in the trillions of yen." 

Amid the various chatter, Honzawa points out that "Metropolitan Tokyo and the Olympic Organizing  Committee have delegated Dentsu (Japan's largest advertising agency) with handling the Olympics."

Honzawa continues: "There's a rumor going around in the government that if Dentsu suffers major losses, it will be reimbursed via a tax increase." 

Dentsu, Shukan Taishu reports, had a buddy-buddy relationship with Abe that will continue under Suga, his successor. 

Over his eight-year tenure as prime minister, Honzawa notes that Abe accumulated government debts of 500 trillion yen. And the double whammy of the corona pandemic and cancellation of the Olympics will further deepen the deficit. 

"Up to now, just about all measures available, such as raising the health care payments for the elderly from 10% to 20% and reducing pension payouts, have been taken, but there're no other solutions left -- except a tax increase," he says. 

A source in the ruling LDP tells the magazine he believes that such previous acts of government largess as the free "Abenomasks" and various monetary payouts are likely to blunt the public's reaction to the imposition of a new "corona recovery tax." 

But will this tax, in fact, be applied to measures for dealing with the coronavirus?

"Additional tax revenues are more likely to go to propping up Dentsu and the related firms that incurred losses from the Olympics," says the aforementioned Honzawa, who adds, "Right after Suga announced his candidacy for LDP president, his pledge not to reduce the consumption tax was effectively a subtle hint that he was thinking in terms of a tax increase." 

Japan's prime minister might change, says Shukan Taishu, but nothing else does. Aren't there any politicians out there who aren't so dead set at picking the taxpayers' pockets?

© Japan Today

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23 Comments
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General popular revolt if tax increases go to supporting a private (and a bad one at that) company.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

It was a bad idea pushed by people in power who felt the need to inflate their sence of self worth and bank accounts. The rest of us have to pay and then show respect to the same people who are doing as much as they can to impoverish those on a lower rung. Funny if you are at the top.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Continuity. Con-ti-nu-i-ty. That's the five-syllable meme being brandished by new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. 

The exact reason Japan has been languishing for the past 30 years. Too scared to move forward, so got passed by China economically.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Is Dentsu god?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The Olympics has become nothing but a scam. Say no to the Olympics.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

"There's a rumor going around in the government that if Dentsu suffers major losses, it will be reimbursed via a tax increase." 

This sounds outrageous, but I can't imagine this actually happening like that. If they want to corruptly hoist the burden of Dentsu losses onto taxpayer's shoulders (which they very well might), they'd find a less in-your-face way of doing it than that, if for no other reason than to prevent the public from torching Dentsu's head office.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Honzawa points out that "Metropolitan Tokyo and the Olympic Organizing Committee have delegated Dentsu (Japan's largest advertising agency) with handling the Olympics."

Honzawa continues: "There's a rumor going around in the government that if Dentsu suffers major losses, it will be reimbursed via a tax increase." 

Hardly suprising, given that Dentsu evolved from the old Ministry of Propaganda, and has playd an extra-governmental role in controlling the media by directing or dissuading advertisers since that time.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Surprises? The Tokyo Olympics an expensive exercise in political hubris with rich possibilities for disaster pushed for by an insulated political class leaving the public on the hook? More regressive taxes to fund corporate welfare masquerading as crisis relief? One of the largest recipients of said welfare being Dentsu? No surprises there at all I would say.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Dentsu losses ?? From the Olympics ?

Dentsu has been reaping enormous commissions and fees from the Olympic sponsors and LOC over the past 7 years and all its expenses over the same period are invoiced to 3rd parties.

What losses ?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Okay now we know one of the real reasons why Abe quit.

Now it's up to Suga to shoulder the blame.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Seb Coe is not an MP. He was, many years ago, but not now.

Looking up Wikipaedia is not journalism.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oops I forgot Seb Coe was parachuted into a safe seat.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My hometown, Los Angeles, actually managed to make money off of the games, mostly by using existing facilities. I propose permanently holding the games in Athens.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Laguna - or any other place with existing facilities. It really can't be that difficult. That said, Athens isn't a bad idea. Greece could use the financial help. And it's easy to get to.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan's prime minister might change, says Shukan Taishu, but nothing else does. Aren't there any politicians out there who aren't so dead set at picking the taxpayers' pockets?

This is Japan. The answer is no

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The OLYMPICS have to be canceled if the Japanese government honestly cares about the health of its citizens.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Dentsu is indeed god and untouchable in Japan, and they run the whole show. Japanese citizens will continue to vote politicians whose families are tied to Dentsu as well, since Japan vote by last name.

Dentsu president can declare himself dictator for life now and Japan would still accept it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think holding the olympics in Athens every year using as much existing facilities is a great idea (and also some fixed location for the winter event). I would also question why the IOC needs 709 employees per their homepage, for an event that happens every 4 years and a lot of the “work” is done by the host nation.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Dentsu is indeed god and untouchable in Japan, and they run the whole show. Japanese citizens will continue to vote politicians whose families are tied to Dentsu as well, since Japan vote by last name.

Yet the malignant effect of Dentsu can barely be discussed because media that do criticize it will have advertising revenues choked off.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Do I smell a brain drain coming?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My hometown, Los Angeles, actually managed to make money off of the games, mostly by using existing facilities. I propose permanently holding the games in Athens.

So true! My hometown, too. I did see the well spent money go towards mostly improvements, rather than new venues. You do with what you have and make it better and accommodating for all. USC used their dorms to house the Olympians. Slight improvements were made at LAX, and other venues.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If they really wanna have the Olympics they better start opening up with no-nonsense rules for foreign visitors to come to Japan.

No-one wants to come and visit if they have to:

Get an authorization letter.

Get a 72 hours pre-flight PCR test.

Get another PCR test when they land.

Do a two weeks quarantine.

Avoid public transport and interaction with the locals (seriously?)
0 ( +0 / -0 )

That would be better than being socked with the bill for Coronavirus 19.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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