Stab Magazine | Tokyo Olympics Might Destroy Three Quality Japanese Waves

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Tokyo Olympics Might Destroy Three Quality Japanese Waves

They want surfing in the games but are willing to risk it at the same time?

news // Jul 7, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The powerful and very active Japanese surfing community will be scrutinising government officials from now until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after they were lumped with surprise plans for a mega-residential development and breakwater that will threaten three world class waves. The development, if it goes ahead, will house sailing athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games and include a 130 meter high hotel. Locals are worried it will destroy three of the country’s best waves as well as destroy the coastal environment relied upon for so many for their incomes.

Kotsubo is a quiet fishing village home to one of Japan’s best reef breaks. In total the development is said to place three top quality Japanese waves at risk; Osaki, Kabune, and Inamura.

Plans for the development were never officially released, but rather leaked to the public. Local residents and surfers reacted quickly circulating petitions to “Save Kutsobo’s environment” which soon went national. The plans have since disappeared from the public agenda though locals are worried with the amount of money and political weight behind it they will re-emerge down the track by which time nothing can be done to stop the development. 

The irony that Olympic officials are preparing to premier surfing to the world at the olympics while at the same time risking some of the country’s best waves is profound. An article from the December 2015 issue of The Surfer’s Journal Japanese Edition, written by local surfer Izawa San, was deeply critical of the plans, also questioning the wisdom of putting economic growth ahead of the environment and calling for surfers worldwide to protect their coastlines. 

“Now in 21st century, the amount of mistakes we have made in return for economic growth and development are uncountable. From past experiences, surfers know that those natures and waves endangered can never be what it used to be,” he wrote. 

“Today, living with nature is recognised as a new philosophy, contributing to the economy. It is perhaps our turn as surfers to spread the new concept of developing the areas without hurting the environment.”

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