Special Report: IOC Wrap Up Evaluation Trip with Tokyo 2020 Learning from Past Mistakes

March 7, 2013

By Keir Radnedge

Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose believes the city’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games had benefited from lessons learned after the 2016 effort fell in only the second round of the IOC ballot in Copenhagen in 2009.

Inose, with the IOC evaluation commission having left the building after its four-day mission, said: “That bid served as a good reference for us. We learned a lot. In a bid race for the Olympic Games no city succeeds with just the first bid so we assessed what was lacking and how we could improve.”

Last time around various IOC members told the Japanese that they had been harmed by a perceived lack of enthusiasm.

This may have been down to cultural and stylistic differences but certainly, this week, Tokyo ‘westernised’ its communication strategy and behaviour to great effect to welcome Sir Craig Reedie and his IOC colleagues.

That may go against the cultural grain in Japan but then, the rules of Olympic bidding were set in the west and not in the east.

Inose said: “This time it was all-Japan, a Team Japan spirit, from the Crown Prince to the Prime Minister to the business community – all of them. All the Japanese sports world acted in unison to participate in this bidding race . . . that must have given a favourable impression to Sir Craig.”

The governor was confident no Japanese stone had been left unturned in the campaign to impress.

“We have shown the best of Tokyo,” he said, “all those assets which that will underpin the smooth delivery of Tokyo 2020. For example: our exceptional transportation infrastructure, our cutting-edge technology and the very high levels of safety and security in Tokyo.”

Following up on the enthusiasm theme, Inose added: “If we are successful it will be for the 80m people who support the bid. There is an enthusiasm for the Games which is overflowing in this metropolitan region.

“I want to emphasise the presence of our young athletes in our bid programme. We involved a lot of young athletes who expressed their hope and enthusiasm about the Games. So this is the obligation we now have for the generations coming after us.

“It is the duty of our generation to win and realise the hosting of the 2020 Olympic Games.”


(Tokyo Governor, Naoki Inose)

Bid leader Tsunekazu Takeda, is one of the newest members of the International Olympic Committee and, for all the work put in by his own team, it was a note from the IOC itself which shone brightest after “a great week with many highlight.”

This was the news of a sharp increase in local public support as recorded by an IOC poll. This showed a jump of 23pc since last year to the 70pc which had been Takeda’s target target.

Takeda said: “That is a signal of the real momentum being this bid along with the great support from the highest level of government which demonstrated that this bid is truly a national priority.”

The key words of the Tokyo bid are “delivery, celebration and innovation’ and Takeda was confident that “meticulous” work on the Games budget of around $5bn would not be exceeded.

This is a stark contrast, from within one of the world’s most powerful economies, with the $19bn estimated by Istanbul, one of Tokyo’s rivals along with Madrid.




Keir Radnedge has been covering football worldwide for more than 40 years, writing 33 books, from tournament guides to comprehensive encyclopedias, aimed at all ages.

His journalism career included The Daily Mail for 20 years as well as The Guardian and other national newspapers and magazines in the UK and around the world. He is a former editor, and remains a lead columnist, with World Soccer, generally recognised as the premier English language magazine on global football.

In addition to his writing, Keir has been a regular analyst for BBC radio and television, Sky Sports, Sky News, Aljazeera and CNN.

Keir Radnedge’s Twitter: @KeirRadnedge

Keir Radnedge’s isportconnect-profile-widget