Seven countries including Japan have expressed official interest in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday.

The seven National Olympic Committees are Austria (Graz), Canada (Calgary), Italy (joint bid of Cortina d'Ampezzo, Milan and Turin), Sweden (Stockholm), Switzerland (Sion), Turkey (Erzurum) and Japan, which, with Sapporo, will aim to host its third Winter Games. NOCs had until Saturday to officially put their hands up.

The 2026 host city will be selected at the IOC Session in September 2019 in Milan. Japan previously held the Winter Olympics in 1972 in Sapporo and 1998 in Nagano.

"I warmly welcome the NOCs' and cities' interest in hosting the Olympic Winter Games," IOC president Thomas Bach said. "The IOC has turned the page with regard to Olympic candidatures.

"Our goal is not just to have a record number of candidates, but ultimately it is to select the best city to stage the best Olympic Winter Games for the best athletes of the world.

"These interested cities and NOCs will continue with the new dialogue stage in which the IOC provides NOCs with greater support, technical advice, communications assistance and materials to develop the best possible candidature."