Friday, March 8, 2013
EDITORIAL: Tokyo, It's Your Time To Shine As Olympic Host
TOKYO (Nikkei)--The International Olympic Committee's Evaluation Commission on Thursday ended its four-day inspection tour of Tokyo to weigh the city's bid to host the 2020 Summer Games.
With the winner to be announced in just six months, the metropolitan government needs to put all its energy into making its bid successful.
Tokyo's competition with Istanbul and Madrid has entered the final stretch. IOC evaluators will be conducting similar inspections of the rival cities later this month, and the assessment reports for all three cities will be released in July.
The IOC delegation was apparently deeply impressed with Tokyo's plans, which emphasize compactness -- most of the venues would be concentrated within an 8km radius of the Olympic Village.
Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 Games failed because it fell short in terms of overall viability and public support. In its report at that time, the Evaluation Commission pointed to the relatively small size of Tokyo's Olympic Village and low public support for the Games. Rio de Janeiro earned the highest praise among the four candidate cities and ultimately got the nod.
Second Time's A Charm
Tokyo's latest plans are more refined than they were four years ago. Public support has also improved, with a recent IOC poll showing a 70% support rate in Japan for hosting the 2020 Games.
But a smooth, upbeat inspection tour guarantees nothing. London beat out Paris as the host city for the 2012 Games despite not rating as well in the assessment report.
What Tokyo needs to do now is focus on winning as much support as possible from the roughly 100 IOC members, because they will be the ones casting a final vote in September. The metropolitan government and the Japanese Olympic Committee should spearhead these promotional efforts, but the central government should also join forces with them to win the bid. Hosting the Olympics is not merely a race between cities; it is also an undertaking that depends to a large extent on a government's diplomatic capabilities.
Spend It Wisely
Tokyo needs to roll out an aggressive promotional campaign, but it should not go overboard on spending. Four years ago, the city spent huge sums of money on its bid, splashing out 500 million yen alone on a 10-minute promotional video shown before the final vote.
This time around, promotional costs will reach an estimated 7.5 billion yen, or only half the amount four years ago. Tokyo should do its best to get the most "bang for the buck" while staying within budget and maintaining total transparency about where the money goes.
(The Nikkei, March 8 morning edition)