OLYMPICS/ ANALYSIS: IOC chooses Tokyo for 2020 Games for its solid hand

September 08, 2013

By ATSUSHI AKUTSU/ Staff Writer

BUENOS AIRES--Tokyo earned the blessing of the International Olympic Committee to hold the 2020 Games in the capital with its promise to offer “peace of mind, safety and stability” amid concerns about the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

All three finalists bidding for the Summer Games had their weaknesses.

Madrid has been embroiled in an economic crisis, while Istanbul has been rocked by anti-government demonstrations as well as civil war in Syria, Turkey’s neighbor.

Tokyo’s candidacy was overshadowed by a series of leaks of radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in recent months.

Four years ago, Tokyo lost out in a bid to host the 2016 Games, which went to Rio de Janeiro.

While Tokyo decided to compete in the race for the 2020 Games, the city failed to present a clear rationale for wanting to organize them.

When the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara and other officials began arguing that the Olympics held in the Japanese capital would contribute to post-quake reconstruction.

After all, the IOC was seeking “solidity” for the 2020 Games.

In a speech immediately before a vote at an IOC general meeting on Sept. 7, Princess Hisako thanked the IOC for its support in post-quake reconstruction.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also said, “There is not a problem (with leaks of radioactive water).”

That is the assurance that IOC members wanted to hear.

In the first round of voting, Tokyo led with 42 votes, followed by Istanbul and Madrid with 26 each. After Istanbul edged out Madrid in a tie-breaking vote, Tokyo defeated Istanbul 60-36 in the final round.

Tokyo will be hosting the Summer Olympics for the second time following the 1964 Games.

By ATSUSHI AKUTSU/ Staff Writer
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From left, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, IOC President Jacques Rogge, JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda and Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose at the signing ceremony for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7 (Teruo Kashiyama)

From left, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, IOC President Jacques Rogge, JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda and Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose at the signing ceremony for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7 (Teruo Kashiyama)

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  • From left, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, IOC President Jacques Rogge, JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda and Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose at the signing ceremony for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7 (Teruo Kashiyama)

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