FUKUOKA — Fukuoka will bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2016 or 2020, Mayor Hirotaro Yamasaki said Thursday at a municipal assembly meeting.

“We are thinking of the Fukuoka-Kyushu Olympics and want to stand as a host candidate,” Yamasaki said, referring to a plan for several cities in Kyushu to hold Olympic events.

Fukuoka, which has hosted the World University Games and the World Swimming Championships, has expressed a strong interest in hosting in 2016 and has established a preparations office.

“We have the expertise when it comes to staging international sporting events and believe our connections within both the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese Olympic Committee gives us an advantage,” said Yamasaki.

He told the assembly IOC President Jacques Rogge said on a visit to Fukuoka that he was “looking for a city with a population of around 1.5 million that can host an Olympics.”

The mayor promised he would not put together a promotional campaign that would put a heavy financial burden on the city of just under 1.3 million.

“We would not need to use a lot of money and (I) have no intention of doing that,” Yamasaki said.

Tokyo, host of the 1964 Summer Games, has already announced it will make a bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2016 or later.

Sapporo has also expressed an interest in hosting the games in 2016 and has established its own office.

The JOC plans to decide on candidates by the end of 2006 and interested cities have to submit their applications by the end of next June.

The IOC will accept submissions from cities in 2007 for the 2016 Olympics, and make its selection in 2009.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said Fukuoka was not powerful enough to rival Tokyo for the Games.

He said there would be problems with security if the Games were held in cities across Kyushu, referring to a problem with security at the G8 Summit in Okinawa in 2000 when several meetings were held in Kyushu.

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