Tokyo leading race for 2020 Olympics, IOC sources say

Kyodo

Members of the International Olympic Committee, who will vote in less than three months to pick the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics, are increasingly leaning toward Tokyo as the favorite, several notable members said.

Tokyo’s emphasis on safety and security appears to be influencing the race for the 2020 Games by pitting its squeaky clean image against the turmoil and instability being witnessed in Istanbul and Madrid.

An IOC veteran from Europe speaking on condition of anonymity said that Tokyo is within reach of winning the bid, while another high-profile member with experience on the IOC Executive Board believes Tokyo will win as long as it doesn’t make any major mistakes before the vote.

Istanbul, now making its fifth Olympic bid, was favored for its aim to become the first Islamic city to host the games, but Tokyo’s stock has risen sharply since Turkish authorities began cracking down on antigovernment protests that began May 31.

As part of the crackdown, police in Istanbul are being blamed for attacking peaceful demonstrators in Taksim Square. An IOC member from Asia who would only speak on condition of anonymity said the turmoil was a “big blow” to Istanbul’s bid.

Madrid, meanwhile, has seen no end in sight to its economic crisis.

Although Tokyo’s lack of a clear concept for the games had been viewed as a weakness, the issue of security is gathering steam.

The three candidate cities made presentations to more than 800 national Olympic committee representatives during the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday.

It was the second such presentation since the cities pitched their cases to the IOC at the SportsAccord conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, in May, with each claiming to be the safest and most financially sound as the race enters the final stretch.

  • gnirol

    Can we use duct tape on our politicians between now and September? Oh, no! There’s an election coming up and they’ll be all over spouting, spouting, spouting. Please, guys. (Japanese female politicians seem much less prone to embarrassing gaffes.) Don’t say one word about the Olympics, Istanbul, Taksim Square, the Ottoman Empire, Islam, Madrid, flamenco, the Euro, Julio or Enrique Iglesias, paella, or anything to do with Japanese-Asian relations in the 20th century during the Upper House campaign. As for Gov. Inose, he’s not running for anything, so perhaps he might try to get lost for three months visiting every room in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Then we might have a chance. I do hope Tokyo wins. I was in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics and, despite the bombing, a very unlikely occurrence in Japan, there’s nothing like experiencing an Olympics.

    • suloza

      So thinking is all right as long as they don’t say it? Nice.

      Important cultural insight for those who are not familiar with Japan.

      Watching the way Olympics are broadcast in Japan makes it clear what the Olympic spirit is: very low. It can be described as “Japanese heroes competing against some undefined, noisy, unknown athletes, and sometimes when we get medals we show the flags and anthems, when we don’t it is as if the winners, is the Olympic champions, don’t exist, so we move on”.

      Japan has much to learn from the Olympic message of tolerance for diversity regardless of nationality, and if the IOC were sensitive to that, it would be a long time before the games landed here again.

      What is the purpose of running the games here? To celebrate Japan, or to celebrate all the nations of the world?

      • gnirol

        I think the Olympics would be a great experience for young Japanese and visitors from all around the world. How many Japanese today get an international experience…in Japan? How many, when they go abroad get to meet real people who are not paid to be nice to them and how many go on organized tours? I don’t see how you learn about the Olympic message without hosting the Games and having to live it. It’s certainly not enough to read about it. The Summer Games will not have been in Japan for more than half a century in 2020. In other words, the only people who remember those Games are retired now and several younger generations have come and gone never having that kind of international experience on Japanese soil. Having said that, oh, heavens: Have at least one “humerus” bone. Did you not see the absurdity and sarcasm in my first post towards our politicians here, people with perfectly good eyes who couldn’t find their way out of an elevator with a loyal guide dog and a map? The problem is that the Japanese people, like my fellow Americans, refuse to throw out the whole lot and completely reform the political system so it fits what _they_ want, not what the professional politicians and their professional supporters want, I assume, because they actually like things the way they are, no matter how much they complain.

    • maria cervantes

      I super like this. I could volunteer to get the duct tape.

    • YoDude12

      I hope they abound in gaffes. Tokyo should not get the Olympics. Shouldn’t money for this nonsense be used in Tohoku? Christ-mas, people are still living in tents up there, practically. Japan has no business hosting the Olympics.

  • Takahiro Katsumi

    What a nightmare to invite so many people of the world to earthquake-stricken and possibly nuclear-powered Japan in 2020. The authorities have learned nothing from the Fukushima incident and many in Japan and Tokyo fear that they cannot take the responsibility in the event another nuclear catastrophe strikes Japan. And yet the IOC chooses Tokyo for “safety” reasons. Live your own reality. We are living our own since 3-11.

    • Masa Chekov

      “Earthquake stricken?” What? The Olympics are going to be held in Tokyo, not Tohoku, and they are 7 years in the future.

      “possibly nuclear-powered Japan” – ….yes? As opposed to nuclear powered France, Spain, Korea, Russia, US, UK, Canada, India, etc etc etc?

      “in the event another nuclear catastrophe strikes Japan” – and how likely is this? In the entire history of nuclear power in the world – all countries – there have been exactly two major incidents.

      “We are living our own since 3-11.” – YES, we are – for those of us in the Tokyo area life is basically the same as before, except the cost of electric is higher due to the plant shutdowns. But Tokyo is safe now as it was safe before and surely will be safe in 2020.

      • suloza

        As the comment said: live your own reality.

        You are not safe in Tokyo.

      • Masa Chekov

        Yes, yes you are, as safe as you are anywhere. Only major city in the world that might be a safer place to visit and live is Singapore. That’s it.

      • Takahiro Katsumi

        If you have counted the number of earthquakes that have hit Japan SINCE 3-11 vis-a-vis BEFORE 3-11 you will find out that it is safe to say that Japan IS “earthquake-stricken”. If you count in the possibility that a so-called Nankai Trough Earthquake could hit the Tokai-Kansai AND Kanto (Chiba) region with a new govt estimated death toll of 320,000 with a 34-meter tsunami within the next 10 years has risen to 70% from 30%, and that the nuclear power plants in the region is currently under re-examination for restart, I think you would think twice before hosting an international sports event that could gather 500,000 foreigners from around the world while we have a potential that the central and municipal govts may have to cope with a major seismic disaster possibly compounded by an ensuing nuclear disaster. Plus, we have new findings of new faults found directly beneath the Tokyo Metropolitan area extending from Ikebukuro to Shinjuku area that are increasing its seismic activity due to the increased activity since 3-11. This is increasing the possibility of a co-called “direct metropolitan earthquake” where epicenter lies right below Tokyo’s surface.

        It’s not a matter of just Tokyo being “safe” per se. It’s a matter of accountability and responsibility of the central and municipal (metropolitan, in this case) govt to respond swiftly NOT as they did during the 3-11 earthquake when foreign government took the lead in evacuating their nationals. We will have a surplus of approx. 500,000 foreigners (at least) in the Tokyo metropolitan area while we don’t even have the resource or institutional groundwork to cope with that magnitude of disaster for our own nationals. We didn’t, at least. It is really, a matter of responsibility of protecting the lives of all people in Japan and safeguarding them from the onslaught of these foreseeable disasters. I don’t think we can take this responsibility or hold any govt or corporate interests accountable to any mishaps during the time of the Olympics. Japan has already demonstrated its poor accountability since 3-11. I don’ the see that drastically changing since in the past two years, and I don’t think it ever will.

      • Takahiro Katsumi

        If you have counted the number of earthquakes that have hit Japan SINCE 3-11 vis-a-vis BEFORE 3-11 you will find out that it is safe to say that Japan IS “earthquake-stricken”. If you count in the possibility that a so-called Nankai Trough Earthquake could hit the Tokai-Kansai AND Kanto (Chiba) region with a new govt estimated death toll of 320,000 with a 34-meter tsunami within the next 10 years has risen to 70% from 30%, and that the nuclear power plants in the region is currently under re-examination for restart, I think you would think twice before hosting an international sports event that could gather 500,000 foreigners from around the world while we have a potential that the central and municipal govts may have to cope with a major seismic disaster possibly compounded by an ensuing nuclear disaster. Plus, we have new findings of new faults found directly beneath the Tokyo Metropolitan area extending from Ikebukuro to Shinjuku area that are increasing its seismic activity due to the increased activity since 3-11. This is increasing the possibility of a co-called “direct metropolitan earthquake” where epicenter lies right below Tokyo’s surface. (continues…)

      • Masa Chekov

        Earthquake prediction is pure quackery. Local institutions keep throwing about all these statistics but nobody knows. This sort of analysis is not at all broadly accepted in the geophysical community. A 34m tsunami in Tokyo Bay is quite a ludicrous proposition as well – Boso, Sagami, perhaps (but extremely unlikely – even the great Kanto quake only caused a 10m tsunami), but not Tokyo Bay.

        Seismic activity has been steadily decreasing since 3/11, by the way. Not increasing. It’s still above average based on pre-3/11 quake frequency but it’s been decreasing for some time.

      • Takahiro Katsumi

        You’re missing the point. This “local institution” you are talking about, are all government institutions. Basing earthquake predictions on pre 3-11 occurrences is scientifically obsolete due to changes in seismic as well as volcanic activities since the M9 in the Tohoku region. These new estimates were given by the government institution such as Central Disaster Management Council based on the data analyzed by the GSI (Geospatial Information Authority of Japan), and those for Tokyo were given by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government itself, which is responsible for the Tokyo Olympics if it were ever to happen. They should take into account their own predictions but they somehow have not done so.

      • Masa Chekov

        ” Basing earthquake predictions on pre 3-11 occurrences is scientifically obsolete due to changes in seismic as well as volcanic activities since the M9 in the Tohoku region. ”

        Basing earthquake predictions on anything is scientifically invalid. This is what the mainstream geophysical community says. That is why these scientists use such absurdly large time scales for their predictions. At a 3 or 5 year scale their predictions are indistinguishable from the error. It’s no better at 30 years but it sounds better because you can use a nice big (but still statistically insignificant) number like 70% probability.

        “They should take into account their own predictions but they somehow have not done so.” – Huh? That’s exactly why they bother to try to make such predictions in the first place – for worst case scenario planning. It’s the same sort of planning people criticize Japan for not making before, now Japan is and they are still being criticized.

      • Takahiro Katsumi

        Now, you seriously believe that in a mega-city of 13 million, the worst-case scenario will be ONLY 6,000 deaths when faced with a M9 earthquake with epicenter directly beneath the Metropolitan Tokyo? It is NOT the worst-case-scenario. That’s the problem! The authorities still downplay the damage even after learning how much damage it has caused in 3-11, even in some extended metropolitan areas such as Chiba and Ibaraki. They’re not planning seriously. They’re NOT ready for the worst. The numbers are still far more optimistic. That’s their mindset, unchanged since and before 3-11. That’s why they are untrustworthy.

      • Takahiro Katsumi

        (Cont’d) It’s not a matter of just Tokyo being “safe” per se. It’s a matter of accountability and responsibility of the central and municipal (metropolitan, in this case) govt to respond swiftly NOT as they did during the 3-11 earthquake when foreign government took the lead in evacuating their nationals. We will have a surplus of approx. 500,000 foreigners (at least) in the Tokyo metropolitan area while we don’t even have the resource or institutional groundwork to cope with that magnitude of disaster for our own nationals. We didn’t, at least. It is really, a matter of responsibility of protecting the lives of all people in Japan and safeguarding them from the onslaught of these foreseeable disasters. I don’t think we can take this responsibility or hold any govt or corporate interests accountable to any mishaps during the time of the Olympics. Japan has already demonstrated its poor accountability since 3-11. I don’ the see that drastically changing since in the past two years, and I don’t think it ever will.

      • Masa Chekov

        I don’t understand why you say Japan is not capable of dealing with such a massive disaster. Kanto faced many challenges after 3/11 and things went rather smoothly, all things considered. The trains were quickly put back into service, destroyed highways in Ibaraki were opened quickly, water and gas shortages in Urayasu and Chiba-shi were resolved pretty quickly. The foreign residents in Japan posed no special challenges.

        Evacuation of foreign nationals by their governments was stupid at the time and very stupid in hindsight. Waste of time and resources. Kanto was and is perfectly safe.

      • thedudeabidez

        ” Kanto faced many challenges after 3/11 and things went rather smoothly, all things considered. ”
        Prime Minister Kan, who certainly knows more about the situation after 3/11 than you do, has said quite clearly that if the winds had been blowing towards the Kanto rather than out over the Pacific in the days following the meltdowns, there was a very real chance Tokyo would have been evacuated. I wonder how smooth things would have been then.

      • Masa Chekov

        FORMER Prime Minister Kan doesn’t know anything, and he likes to pump up how grave the danger was to make himself look good (“See how well I handled this?”).

        There was no chance Tokyo would have been evacuated.

      • Takahiro Katsumi

        “All things considered”–now that’s a very convenient phrase. In the new damage and occurrence estimate the Government of Japan estimate that either a direct hit of M9 in Tokyo or in the vicinity Tokai area which includes the Hamaoka nuclear power plant slated for restart in the coming months. What happened in 3-11 was a mere aftershock of M7 (Shindo 5+) from the M9 earthquake that hit the very distant Tohoku region. The level of damage and destruction is well beyond what happened in the near-epicenter cities of Miyagi or Fukushima.

        When the reactors in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant exploded, the U.S. military placed a 80-km radius safety zone from their experience at the Three Mile incident. The Japanese authorities set 30-km exposing many of the residents to high dosage of radiation. The U.S. responded swiftly by distributing iodine injections while Japanese government did not. It was just recently reported by Fukushima Minpo that “nuclear power plant-related deaths” has risen to 1383 in Fukushima alone versus 2688 nationwide. I don’t think we are safe from government’s poor judgment of the catastrophe.

      • Masa Chekov

        ” It was just recently reported by Fukushima Minpo that “nuclear power plant-related deaths” has risen to 1383 in Fukushima alone versus 2688 nationwide. ”

        WOW this is a complete falsification!!! How can you print something like this? The number of deaths related to radiation from Fukushima Dai-Ichi is ZERO right now. Epidemiologists in major, peer-reviewed journals like Nature say that their research shows the total deaths related to radiation exposure from Fukushima Dai-Ichi will be indistinguishable from background.

        I don’t know what your agenda is but you need to start being more honest with the facts you are presenting.

      • Takahiro Katsumi

        I believe you understand Japanese so I will just paste the URL. The terminology they use is, “the number of deaths caused by deteriorating health conditions associated with the nuclear power plant accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant.” This was published May 11 2013.
        http://www.minpo.jp/pub/topics/jishin2011/2013/05/post_7092.html

      • Bernd Bausch

        Not sure if it makes sense to reply to a 4 days old comment. If you cite a news source, please do so correctly. The article counts the deaths as a result of worsening health of people who were evacuated after the earthquake and the nuclear accident, not the accident alone. In particular, I don:t think anybody in Iwate or Miyagi was evacuated due to radiation.

        The artlcie then mentions that almost all the dead in Fukushima are from the radiation evacuation zones around Futaba. I would guess that most of these deaths can be linked to the accident, though it is not said how many of them would have been evacuated anyway because their homes were destroyed by the tsunami.

        Though your numbers are incorrect, it is definitely wrong to say that Fukushima Daiichi killed nobody.

      • YoDude12

        In case you don’t know it, Japan has earthquakes everyday. Sure, most are very small. Do you seriously think they only happen in Tohoku? Get real! There are nuclear reactors all over this country, do you know how many are directly over fault lines, or close enough to be Dai-Ichi Fukashima-esque should a quake occur at any time. Your correct, 2020 is seven years off, and I wouldn’t be surprised that people in Tohoku are still living in temporary housing then. The Kobe earthquake happened 18 years ago, and people are still suffering from it today. How about you wander up to Iwate-ken and take a look at the coastline villages, then volunteer more taxes to pay for the recovery.

      • Masa Chekov

        “In case you don’t know it, Japan has earthquakes everyday.” – I know this quite well, thank you. They are almost always completely insignificant. Even the shindo 6 3/11 quake caused minimal damage in the Tokyo area (with the exception of coastal portions of Chiba.

        “do you know how many are directly over fault lines, or close enough to be Dai-Ichi Fukashima-esque should a quake occur at any time” – Do you? One that I know of, and it is being refused permission to restart. And Fukushima Dai-Ichi accident was caused by inadequate protection from tsunami, not by earthquake. Others in the area of strong shaking experienced no disasters, as did Kashiwazaki after the major quake there a few years back.

        “How about you wander up to Iwate-ken and take a look at the coastline villages, then volunteer more taxes to pay for the recovery.” – I’ve been there, and we’re all paying extra taxes soon for the recovery. I do so willingly.

        None of this changes the fact that Tokyo is safe. I don’t think Tokyo should go for the Olympics as it’s a waste of money but certainly not because Tokyo is unsafe.

  • Takahiro Katsumi

    As a Tokyo resident myself I do not trust the metropolitan or central government in terms of how they cope with disasters that involve nuclear incidents. Their track record thus far shows that. I can’t in good conscience endorse to invite over 500,000+ foreign residents to Japan when the governments cannot even manage to help secure the safety and security of their own people, in terms of disclosure and dissemination of critical information such as SPEEDI, providing preventative measures of exposure to low-to-medium dosage of radiation, providing appropriate radiation dosage information of food products and controlling the flow of food products for wider safety rather than for local economic concerns, and allowing evacuation of children and their parents from the disaster affected areas in the Tohoku region respecting their rights as prescribed in the UN Convention on Women’s and Children’s Rights. With a high possibility of the restart of nuclear power plant in Hamaoka, and 70 percent probability of a M9er hitting the adjacent Tokai region within the next 10 years, and new active fault lines being found directly underneath Tokyo with estimated damage of 6,000 or more deaths,I think it would be wise not to take the chance of inviting to extend the damage of the foreseeable disaster to non-resident foreigners due to incompetent governance.

  • Glen Douglas Brügge

    I honestly think it is pointless to put off the Olympics based on maybes. We live our lives surrounded by maybes. If we did not go on living out of fear of the unknown, we would no longer have any quality of life. You’re more likely to be killed in Tokyo by some idiot riding his bicycle on the sidewalk than by a quake or nuclear fallout.

  • paul

    Given the state of the economy one would wonder how the country can afford it- a situation very similar to that in Brasil but given the political apathy of the people the government looks like riding this as great nationalistic opportunity- the ex-governor of Tokyo is very much in support!
    However, given that the last couple of countries have experienced economic crisises after the games were held one wonders about having a country you love but a country which doesn’t have any jobs- look at Greece, Spain and England. Hope that Japan doesn’t go down the same path.