Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games is gaining momentum.
Public support for the bid has risen to 70 percent in the nation’s capital, the International Olympic Committee informed the local organizing committee on Tuesday. The figure released represents an increase of 23 percent over a survey taken by the IOC in May 2012.
Tokyo 2020 bid president Tsunekazu Takeda made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday evening and stated that the IOC’s numbers showed nationwide the approval rate stands at 67 percent to bring the Summer Games back to Japan for the first time since 1964.
“I am pleased to hear the survey results,” said Takeda. “It demonstrates Tokyo’s unmatched passion for sport and desire to host the 2020 Games. I think the record showing (38 medals) by Japanese athletes at last summer’s London Olympics have helped inspire the increased numbers in the survey,” Takeda said. “We would like to increase the support even more.”
At the same point in Tokyo’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2016 Olympics in 2009, the IOC showed 56 percent of Tokyo residents in favor of hosting the games.
Takeda was unable to provide a timeline on when the survey was taken and said the methodology would be included in the IOC Evaluation Commission’s final report in July.
The IOC Evaluation Commission is currently in Tokyo on a four-day inspection tour. Tokyo is vying for the right to host the 2020 Games with Istanbul and Madrid.
The Evaluation Commission visited the current national stadium on Tuesday along with Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium and the Tokyo International Forum. The national stadium will be the site of a new venue to be built that would play host to the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics if Tokyo wins the bid.
At Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, proposed site for table tennis in 2020, the commission members spoke with Olympian Ai Fukuhara, who took on IOC member and FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann in a friendly game.
“I hope the Olympics will come to Tokyo,” Fukuhara stated. “Japan is a country with good teamwork and is bright and forward-looking.”
At the Tokyo International Forum, where weightlifting would be held, members spoke with Hiromi Miyake, a silver medalist in London last summer.
The IOC will announce the host of the 2020 Olympics on Sept. 7 at a meeting in Buenos Aires.