200-day countdown event held for Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid

Kyodo

The Tokyo Olympic bid committee held a commemorative event Tuesday to mark 200 days before the vote to decide the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The event was held jointly with the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the international terminal of Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Those in attendance included kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo and London Olympic fencing team silver medalist Yuki Ota, who is an envoy helping to promote Tokyo’s bid for 2020.

“I would love to see the performances of Japanese athletes here in Japan,” Ebizo told a crowd including local elementary school students invited to the event.

Kabuki, a classical dance-drama, was introduced on the world stage as a Japanese tradition art form at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. “I would like to perform and show what I can do (if Tokyo wins the bid),” Ebizo said.

Ota, who also won silver in the individual foil at the 2008 Beijing Games, said, “It is also my job to introduce Japanese arts and culture to the world.”

Japan is bidding against Madrid and Istanbul for the 2020 Games. The International Olympic Committee will decide the host city at a general assembly in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7.

But the Japanese Olympic Committee is faced with a damage control issue following a high-profile scandal involving 15 top female judo athletes who accused their former coach of physical and verbal abuse, prompting the JOC to demand its member federations conduct investigations into violence in other sports.

It remains to be seen if the latest cloud cast upon Japanese sports will influence Tokyo’s bid for 2020.