“It is a problem that has happened every 40 years – it is the cursed Olympics, and that is a fact,” said Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso in March, commenting on the then-imminent postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

In 1940, Japan had planned to host the games, yet World War II forced their hand — as was the case with the London games four years later. The Moscow Olympics 40 years later in 1980 saw the West boycott the competition due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which eventually proved to be fatal for the communist regime. Forty years later, in 2020, Japan is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

As in the past, the importance of a successful Olympic games remains crucial.