JOC President Takeda Urges Tokyo to Launch 2020 Olympic Bid

June 24, 2011

Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) President Tsunekazu Takeda has formally requested that the city of Tokyo launches a bidding campaign to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

The Japanese capital, which lost out to Rio de Janeiro of Brazil in the race for the 2016 Games, had no potential rivals to become Japan’s bid city after Hiroshima abandoned its bid because of the potential cost.

Takeda claimed that the bid would help Japan recover from the earthquake and tsunami in March that killed more than 15,000 people.

He said: “It will serve national interests that the people of the nation unite as one to bid for the Olympics as a symbol of recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.”

Takeda claimed that there are considerations to stage Olympic football matches in the North East region of the country, an area that was particularly damaged by the disaster, with JOC believing that any potential dangers from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant crisis will have been allayed by 2020.

Takeda said: “I believe it will be possible to have North East Japan stage Olympic soccer games in three to five prefectures nine years from now.”

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has spoken positively of bidding for 2020, despite receiving criticism for spending an estimated US$175m on Tokyo’s failed 2016 bid, whereby the city was eliminated in the second round of voting at the International Olympic Committee Session in Copenhagen in October 2009.

Ishihara said: “Let’s walk arm in arm towards this goal.”

All candidate cities must officially declare their interest in bidding for 2020 before the September 1 deadline later this year.

JOC officials hope to make an announcement when Jacques Rogge, the President of the IOC,  visits Tokyo on July 15-16 to attend a series of events to mark the centenary of the JOC.

Double Olympic women’s wrestling gold medallist Saori Yoshida joined Takeda in urging Tokyo to launch a campaign.

She said: “The Olympics would be a chance to give courage and energy to the Japanese people.”