Friday, June 17, 2011

Ishihara eyes another Olympics bid, this time 2020 By Takahiro FUKADA

 Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara expressed his intention Friday to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, to show the world that Japan has recovered from the ravages of the March 11 twin disasters and despite falling short in seeking the 2016 Games.

                                                                                                                          Photo: Reuters
 Shintaro Ishihara, the Governor of Tokyo, presents Tokyo's candidature for the 2016 Olympic Games to International Olympic Committee (IOC) members during the 121st IOC session in Copenhagen October 2, 2009.

 Saying the reconstruction effort from the Great East Japan Earthquake is unprecedented and comparable with rebuilding from the ashes after World War II, Ishihara said Tokyo's bid will be a symbol of Japan's recovery.
 "If we can show that Japan has recovered, and we will, nine years later, it will be the best appreciation for the friendship and encouragement that were given to us from all over the world" in the wake of the disasters, Ishihara said during a session of the metropolitan assembly.
 "Keeping the torch burning" in pursuit of the Olympics "will have a great significance for our country's future," he said.
 Ishihara also called for support from the residents of Tokyo and the rest of the country.
 Tokyo lost in 2009 to Rio de Janeiro in the race to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, using ¥15 billion in taxpayer money for the campaign. Officials say Tokyo still has a special ¥400 billion fund for hosting the games.
 Japanese Olympic officials reportedly have high expectations for a Tokyo bid for the 2020 Olympics, but say the decision ultimately wrests with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
 To win the bid, Ishihara stressed it will be indispensable for the entire nation to join together.
 "I would definitely like every Tokyo resident and Japanese to join their hands together with the disaster-hit areas and the whole of Japan," Ishihara said. "I am strongly expecting Japan to become one behind hosting the games."
 The governor is expected to officially declare the bid sometime after next month. No other Japanese cities have so far indicated they will seek the 2020 Olympics.
 The deadline to submit applications to the International Olympic Committee is Sept. 1. The winner is scheduled to be decided at the IOC general assembly in Buenos Aires in 2013, Tokyo officials said, adding Rome is also likely to bid for the games.


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