Olympics Have Twice Forced This Man From His Home

Kohei Jinno describes 'sad, lonely feeling' as start date approaches
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2021 9:22 AM CDT

Kohei Jinno is among the minority in Japan who feel this summer's Olympic Games should go on. Otherwise, it would mean he was booted from his home of a half-century for nothing. The 87-year-old and his wife, Yasuko, were one of some 200 families forced out of a public housing complex to allow for a rebuild of Tokyo's National Stadium, initially built for the 1964 Olympics. For Jinno, it was a replay of the events of 50 years ago, when his family was evicted from their home to allow for the stadium and a surrounding park to be built. "The site of their home was paved over" while a nearby river was "buried in concrete," reports Reuters. Half a century later, in 2013, officials announced the rebuilding of the stadium, requiring the clear-out of the housing complex in its shadow.

"It was so hard to leave. It was the place I'd lived the longest in my life," says Jinno, who moved to the housing complex in 1965 and moved out in 2016. He received the equivalent of $1,500 for his troubles—a city official tells Reuters that is standard payment—though costs to move to another housing complex were $9,000. "I just had to laugh," he says. Making things tougher, his wife died in 2018. She'd been "lonely, depressed," he says. The evictions, construction using wood sourced from rainforests, and new anti-terrorism initiatives, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, have soured many Japanese on the Olympics, per Teen Vogue. For Jinno, now living with a son, returning to his old neighborhood brings "a sad, lonely feeling." Still, he hopes the Olympics are a success. (More Tokyo Olympics stories.)

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