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2014年2月 8日 (土)

ソチ五輪開幕 平和の祭典でテロを許すな

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 07, 2014
Russia should do its utmost to ensure safe Olympic Games
ソチ五輪開幕 平和の祭典でテロを許すな(2月7日付・読売社説)

The Sochi Winter Olympics has kicked off under the threat of potential terrorism. We hope the Games will be held without incident.

The opening ceremony was set to take place Friday, with athletes from more than 80 countries and territories competing for 98 gold medals in seven sports through Feb. 23.

In contrast to the glowing touches put into place for the opening of the sports event, the Sochi Olympics has been overshadowed by an Islamist radical group announcing its intention to disrupt the Games through terrorist attacks. It is extraordinary that an Olympics has been made the target of such attacks.

This is the second Olympics that Russia has hosted, following the 1980 Moscow Summer Games during the former Soviet Union days.

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan the previous year, and Japan, the United States and many other countries boycotted the Games in protest.

For Russia, which was humiliated by the boycotts at that time, the Sochi Olympics also serve as a major political event. By making the event successful, Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently aims to show that Russia has overcome the confusion following the collapse of the Soviet Union and has revived itself as a major power.

Russia spent about ¥5 trillion for the Winter Games—the most ever in the history of the Olympics—in building event venues and related facilities in Sochi, a resort in the south of the country on the Black Sea coast.

Threat of terrorism

Islamist groups based in neighboring areas, however, oppose the Putin administration’s high-handed political stance toward ethnic minorities. The group that has announced its intention to carry out terrorist attacks has also claimed responsibility for a series of suicide attacks that hit Volgograd, northeast of Sochi, in December.

The tight security surrounding Sochi is proof of the tense situation facing these Olympics. About 40,000 officers have been dispatched from police and other security organizations, while the navy has been put on high alert. Surveillance from the air has also been reinforced.

Visitors to the Olympic Village, in which about 6,000 athletes are staying, have to go through stringent ID checks.

Asked about concerns over possible terrorist attacks against the Sochi Games, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has expressed full confidence in the Russian authorities.

For athletes, the Sochi Olympics will certainly test their mental strength to see how well they can focus on their performances while under such tight security.

Japan has sent a delegation of 113 athletes to Sochi, including 65 women. This is the first Winter Games for Japan to send more women athletes than men.

In terms of medals, the Japanese team has set a target of surpassing its results at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, where Japan won five gold medals and five silver or bronze medals. The latest squad includes some gold medal hopefuls, such as figure skaters Mao Asada and Yuzuru Hanyu, in addition to Sara Takanashi, who will compete in the Olympics’ first women’s ski jumping event.

We hope the Japanese athletes fully display their abilities in Sochi.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 7, 2014)
(2014年2月7日01時34分  読売新聞)


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