Tokyo Olympic bid gets high marks

Kyodo, Staff Report

The International Olympic Committee has released its Evaluation Commission report for cities vying to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, giving Tokyo high marks for its proposal for a compact games in which 85 percent of the competition venues would be within an 8-km radius.

Tokyo, which was also lauded for its fluid transportation network and financial soundness, is bidding against Istanbul and Madrid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The winning city will be announced Sept. 7 at the IOC’s general assembly in Buenos Aires.

Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose expressed excitement over the favorable evaluation.

“Frankly speaking, I’m truly pleased that the commission overall gave us high marks,” he said. “Our efforts have increasingly come to bear fruit.”

The report said, “Athletes would enjoy short travel times as the majority of venues would be within 20 minutes of the Olympic Village,” noting that golf and the venues for modern pentathlon, soccer and road cycling would require longer traveling times.

In drawing comparisons among the candidates, the report does not rank any of the three cities as superior or inferior, but the overall impression is that Tokyo has few negative elements.

Japan’s high rate of earthquakes and the danger of tsunami are addressed.

“Japan is situated in an earthquake zone and robust measures have been adopted by the Japanese authorities in terms of construction standards,” it says. “Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, numerous studies and simulations have been undertaken by relevant experts to evaluate future risks to the Tokyo Bay area.”

The report concludes: “The Candidature File outlines well thought-out proposals for the successful planning and delivery of security operations which would deliver safe and secure Games.”

The Evaluation Commission points out concerns over safety and security for Istanbul due to the civil war in neighboring Syria and problems with traffic congestion, but adds that it “considers the planning and proposed operations to be adequate to ensure safe and secure Games.”

“The conflict in Syria presents security risks, although the main effects appear to be in the southeast of the country,” it says.

Madrid faces problems due to economic insecurity amid the prolonged Spanish recession, but the report also states: “The degree of financial risk facing Madrid 2020 should be manageable over seven years within the overall Spanish economy and taking into account government guarantees.”

The Evaluation Commission visited the three candidate cities in March.

“We are indeed very pleased with the quality of each bid and it is clear that the IOC members will have a difficult choice to make this September in Buenos Aires,” IOC Vice President Sir Craig Reedie, chairman of the Evaluation Commission, said in a statement.

The candidate cities will make another pitch to IOC members in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 3 and 4.

With less than three months before the final decision, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda said his team will push the campaign with passion.

“We won’t be offering anything new from here. What I believe is important is to present our plan precisely and convey the Japanese people’s desire to hold the Olympic Games passionately,” he said at a news conference Tuesday evening.

The candidate cities have already made presentations twice, in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the end of May and in Lausanne in mid-June.

Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Summer Games, failed in its bid to grab the 2016 Olympics, which went to Rio de Janeiro.

Istanbul is bidding for the fifth time, aiming to be the first Islamic city to host the games, while this is the third consecutive bid for Madrid.