Games bid support at 73%: poll of 400

Staff Report

Support among Tokyo residents for hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics has increased to 73 percent from 66 percent, the bid committee said Wednesday, marking the first time backing has topped 70 percent.

Tokyo learned when it missed out on hosting the 2016 Olympics that building avid local support is crucial if it is going to defeat its two rivals this time, Madrid and Istanbul.

The poll was conducted on 400 Tokyoites between Jan. 10 and 20, while the previous one was done from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2.

The bid committee issued a statement saying such factors as the inauguration of Naoki Inose, who strongly advocates hosting the Olympics, as Tokyo governor in mid-December, and the official submission of the candidacy — combined with the abundant media exposure that followed — contributed to the rise in support.

The International Olympic Committee, whose members will decide the host city in September, conducts its own surveys in each city, and some Japanese media have said it may have taken a poll sometime this month.

According to the IOC poll conducted last May, the support rate among Tokyoites was a mere 47 percent, while the figure was 78 percent in Madrid and 73 percent in Istanbul.