Japan rides on Games again

Japan rides on Games again
This artist image received on September 9, 2013 by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Bid Committee shows the new National Stadium in Tokyo.

TOKYO - The 2020 Olympics could cement the revival of Japan's long-stagnant economy, analysts say, in an echo of how the 1964 Tokyo Games showcased a nation risen from the ashes of defeat.

Staging the world's biggest sporting jamboree "is clearly a plus to (economic) growth", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told journalists in Buenos Aires, hours after the Japanese capital was named as host.

"Japan has had 15 years of economic stagnation... and we've lost confidence in ourselves. But I hope this will be a chance for us to regain that confidence," Mr Abe said.

In the 1960s, the Games were the coming-out party for a country that had grown to respectability after the ignominy of occupation following World War II. The 1964 Olympics heralded the start of what was to become a vigorous economy, and one that shook up the global order until it came to a shuddering halt at the end of the 1980s.

Two decades of anaemic growth and investment-sapping deflation saw China push a floundering Japan to third place.

But Mr Abe's election in December kindled hopes of a recovery, and his economic plan - dubbed "Abenomics" - has encouraged the green shoots of a recovery that optimists say could really take hold.

Now they hope that a second bite of the Olympic cherry could cement that recovery and recharge a country once known for its economic vigour.

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