Tokyo 2020 Olympics bid committee girds for the final presentation

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

The International Olympic Committee votes in 15 days on whether Tokyo, Istanbul or Madrid will host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, and officials of the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee said Friday they will do their utmost to win over the IOC general assembly next month leading up to the decision.

“We, as ‘Team Japan,’ are on track to fight it out with great teamwork,” Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose told a news conference at the metropolitan government Friday evening.

“At the final presentation in Buenos Aires, I’d like to emphasize Tokyo’s safety and security, transportation system and financial strength,” said Inose, who also serves as chairman of the bid committee.

Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, who is also the president of the bid committee, pledged to give his all at the presentation, keeping the people’s expectations in mind.

When asked about the prospects of Tokyo winning the vote, Inose said that all the committee members could do is give it their best shot and then wait for the results.

After the news conference, a kickoff ceremony was held attended by some 830 guests, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, education minister Hakubun Shimomura and Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Keidanren.

Abe revealed his plan to attend the IOC assembly in Buenos Aires to help bring the Summer Games to Tokyo for the first time since 1964.

“I’d like to hear the announcement by the IOC that the 2020 Games will go to Tokyo. I’ll work hard with all of you,” Abe said passionately at the ceremony.

Tokyo is vying with Istanbul and Madrid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. Tokyo is bidding for the second time in a row, after failing in the bid for the 2016 Games, which Rio de Janeiro was selected to host.

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