It’s Official: Tokyo Bids to Host 2020 Olympics

July 16, 2011

Tokyo on Saturday officially declared its bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

“There’s no point in entering the fight to host the Olympics unless we win,” Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said during the declaration, made at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Japan Sports Association and the Japanese Olympic Committee.

Earlier in the day, the Tokyo metropolitan government submitted the necessary application documents to the JOC, which then decided during an extraordinary meeting of its executives that Tokyo would be the nation’s candidate city for the 2020 event.

Tokyo is aiming to host the 2020 Games as a symbol of Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

This is Tokyo’s second bid for a Summer Olympics since it was chosen as the venue for the 1964 Olympics. Its previous attempt was its failed bid for the 2016 Games.

Although Ishihara expressed his desire to bid for the 2020 event at a metropolitan assembly session in June, he refrained from making an official announcement, saying support from other prefectures and organizations would be necessary.

JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda later visited the metropolitan government to ask Ishihara to bid for the 2020 Games, and traveled to disaster-hit Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures to seek their understanding.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Division has decided to support Tokyo’s bid, and the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry also asked the metropolitan government to seek to host the Games.

Having therefore judged that political, business and sports circles are showing their support, the metropolitan government decided to make a formal declaration while International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge was in Japan to attend the ceremony.

Rio de Janeiro was chosen for the 2016 event, beating out Tokyo, Chicago and Madrid. The Brazilian city’s bid stressed that it would be the first Olympics to be held in South America, and Japan was eliminated in the second round following Chicago’s exit in the first.

According to a report by the metropolitan government and other sources, Tokyo was highly regarded for the compactness of its envisioned Games, with many competition venues located close to each other. However, the city likely lost because it did not have a strong message of what hosting the event would mean.

Analyses also suggested that Japan lacked strong personal connections in international sports circles.

Rome and Madrid already have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2020 Games. Applications to become a candidate city must be submitted to the IOC by Sept. 1.

The 2020 host city will be named at the IOC’s general meeting in September 2013.