The Japanese Olympic Committee on Thursday set the ambitious goals of bringing a summer Olympic Games to the country by 2020 and breaking into the top three in the Olympic medals standings.

Buoyed by Japanese athletes’ strong performances at last year’s Athens Olympics, the JOC Executive Board agreed on the new targets that upgrade the initial buildup program launched by the national Olympic body in 2001.

Japan ranked fifth with 16 gold medals and sixth with a total of 37 medals at the Athens Games, achieving the JOC’s goal of roughly doubling the number of medals within 10 years.

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Japan won five golds and 19 medals overall.

“The difference between the world’s top three and the rest is wide and we need to make tremendous efforts to catch up with them,” JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda said, referring to three Olympic superpowers — the United States, China and Russia.

“I believe bringing an Olympics to Japan will help achieve our new goal,” Takeda added.

In Athens, the United States topped the medals table with 103, including 35 golds.

China, which hosts the 2008 Beijing Games, finished with 32 golds and a total of 63 medals while Russia took 92 medals, including 27 golds.

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