LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Tokyo stepped up its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games on Thursday by using high-tech devices to promote the Japanese capital as the best stage for the competitors.
According to Tokyo officials, about 70 International Olympic Committee members visited the Japanese booth, which featured virtual-reality goggles and a high-tech ticketing system, when all four bid cities had opportunities to make their pitch to voters for the second day in a row, following Wednesday’s technical presentations.
“President (Jacques) Rogge came to us first thing in the morning. IOC members were checking out our booth very closely,” said Ichiro Kono, chairman of the Tokyo 2016 bid committee.
Tokyo’s rivals — Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid — all received high marks from IOC members as well.
“This is going to be a tough race, but we did what we had to do here,” Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said at a news conference before leaving Lausanne on Friday.
“It seems like all IOC members have this impression: Tokyo provided the most detailed explanation. I met a lot of people. They had all kinds of different opinions, but everyone congratulated me and our presentations were excellent,” Ishihara said.
The IOC will make a final vote to select the host city on Oct. 2 in Copenhagen.
Asked what else needs to be done to win votes, Ishihara said, “To build relations with IOC members. Generally speaking, the Japanese are not good at this.”
“But Japanese Olympic Committee members have had ties with IOC people through international games, so we just have to count on them. It’s so difficult to predict the outlook because there are so many uncertainties,” he added.
The main feature of Tokyo’s bid is that most competition venues are located within an 8-km radius in order to stage what the city has called the “most compact Olympics in the world.”
Tokyo hosted the only Summer Olympic Games staged thus far in Japan in 1964. Japanese cities Sapporo and Nagano held the Winter Olympics in 1972 and 1998, respectively.