Sunday, September 8, 2013
Tokyo To Host '20 Summer Olympics
BUENOS AIRES (Nikkei)--Tokyo was selected to host the 2020 summer games by the International Olympic Committee here Saturday, a triumph that will bring the quadrennial sporting event back to the Japanese capital for the first time in 56 years.
- Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, announces Tokyo as the city to host the 2020 summer games at a ceremony in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7.
IOC President Jacques Rogge announced the results. In the first round of voting, Madrid and Istanbul each drew 26 votes, with Tokyo leading the pack with 42 but falling short of a majority. In a tie-breaking vote between Madrid and Istanbul, the Spanish city was eliminated, 49-45. The subsequent run-off resulted in Tokyo securing 60 votes against Istanbul's 36, giving it a majority.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had flown in from St. Petersburg to make a last-minute plea, was exultant. "My heart was pounding, but I am so happy," he said. "I would like to share this joy with the Japanese people."
Asked for the reason for Tokyo's success, Abe said: "We were able to convince IOC members that Tokyo is the city that understands the Olympic spirit and will be able to convey that spirit to the world. Our message of hosting reliable and safe Olympics was also accepted."
Solid management capabilities, strong finances and public safety apparently gave Tokyo an edge over rivals. It will host the 2020 Paralympic Games as well.
Japan will be the first Asian country to host the summer events twice, following the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Overall, this will mark Japan's fourth time serving as the site of the Olympics, including the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics and 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
Under the plan presented by Tokyo, the games will begin with the opening ceremony on July 24 and last through Aug. 9, with a total of 28 events to be held at 37 sites. To show support for the Tohoku region's recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, organizers will route the Olympic Torch Relay through the area and also hold soccer qualifiers in Miyagi Prefecture.
- A rendering of a new Olympic stadium to be built in Tokyo.
Tokyo will set up an organizational committee by February to begin preparing in earnest. Event management expenses and costs for setting up athletic venues and the Olympic Village are expected to reach roughly 300 billion yen over the next seven years. The nationwide economic impact of hosting the games, however, is forecast to reach around 3 trillion yen.
Tokyo's winning bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics follows a failed attempt to host the 2016 games, which went to Rio de Janeiro. Low public support and delayed lobbying efforts are believed to have led to Japan's defeat at the time. But then-Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara vowed to try again for the 2020 games.
With many Japanese athletes having performed well in the 2012 London games, public interest has soared. In a poll released by the IOC in March, 70% of Tokyo residents supported the capital's, a significant increase from 47% in May, 2012.
(The Nikkei, Sept. 7 online edition)