Tokyo declares bid for 2020

2011-07-16 09:01

Tokyo will bid for the 2020 Olympics, hoping to show the world how it has recovered nine years after the devastation caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda confirmed the Japanese capital’s candidacy today at a ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the committee.

“Today, Japan is recovering from the tsunami and earthquake and we want to have the 2020 Olympics as a symbol of the recovery,” said Takeda.

Tokyo, which lost out to Rio de Janeiro in the race to host the 2016 Olympics, was not discouraged by the South Korean city of Pyeongchang winning the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Last week, Pyeongchang beat European rivals Munich and Annecy, France, after narrow defeats for the 2010 and 2014 Games.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, who attended today’s ceremony, said on Thursday the committee had no formal opposition to hosting successive games on the same continent.

Rome and Madrid have officially declared bids for 2020 and Istanbul is expected to do so as well.

The international committee would select the 2020 host city in 2013.

Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964 and the Winter games in Sapporo in 1972 and in Nagano in 1998.

Rogge said he was confident Tokyo would make a strong bid.

“Japan belongs to the small elite group of five nations only who have organised three splendid Olympic games,” said Rogge.

The Japanese committee has said if Tokyo wins the right to host the 2020 games, regions affected by the earthquake, tsunami and the ensuing nuclear crises, could host some events such as football.

Tokyo emerged as the sole bidding city for Japan after Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the two Japanese cities hit by atomic bombs in World War II – had expressed interest in a joint Olympic bid, but Hiroshima pulled out recently saying it still had outstanding debts from hosting the 1994 Asian Games.

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, who was the driving force behind the 2016 bid, said his government would provide full support.

“There is no point in bidding if you don’t win,” said Ishihara. “The Tokyo metropolitan government will give blood, sweat and tears to provide money and facilities.”

Several major international sporting events in Japan were cancelled because of a nuclear crisis triggered by the earthquake and tsunami, but the Japanese committee vowed that would not influence a potential Olympic bid.

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