Major Japan firms set to back Tokyo Olympics
TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Clad in traditional costumes, junior high school students who are also members of a traditional drum band welcome members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation commission in Tokyo on March 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKAJapan’s corporate giants are ready to chip in for another Olympics in Tokyo in hopes the Games will provide the same economic boost as the 1964 edition, Toyota’s chairman said today.
Despite years of deflation that has forced big Japanese companies to reduce sports sponsorships including the ending of Panasonic’s deal with golf star Ryo Ishikawa, Fujio Cho said Japan Inc. would bring plenty to the table. “If Tokyo gets the 2020 Olympics, I believe businesses will become sponsors and support them,” the Toyota chairman said after meeting a team from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who are evaluating Tokyo’s bid.
“The Japanese economy soared very quickly after 1964,” Cho, 76, told reporters.
“I don’t think it will do quite the same again but I have no doubt it will provide a boost,” said Cho, citing the spin-off demand for new products and the fillip to tourism.
He added that many companies in Japan have a record of involvement in sport, including Toyota which has connections with motorsport, rugby, basketball, softball, long-distance running and football.
The Toyota boss was among business leaders who briefed the 14-member inspection team on finance and marketing, two of the 14 themes the three candidate cities outlined in reports to the IOC last month.
After four days in Tokyo, the team will visit Madrid and Istanbul later this month before drawing up a technical report on the bids for the 101 IOC members who will vote to choose the 2020 host on Sept. 7. Istanbul could become the first city from a majority Muslim country to host the Olympic Games.
The Japanese government assured the IOC that it would cover any cost over-runs in organizing the Olympics.
Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose reminded them that the city had a $4.3 billion reserve fund for construction of Olympic infrastructure, according to an official of the Tokyo bid committee.