Japan Prime Minister Abe says Tokyo 2020 will be ‘inspiring’

Japan Prime Minister Abe says Tokyo 2020 will be ‘inspiring’

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Japan Prime Minister Abe says Tokyo 2020 will be ‘inspiring’

Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose plays tennis in front of IOC Vice President and Craig Reedie of Britain (top C). REUTERS photo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo could be an inspiration for other cities if it wins the right to host the 2020 Olympics, after becoming the first place in Asia to get the Games in 1964.

Promising his government’s “fullest” support for Tokyo’s new Olympic bid, Abe told inspectors from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that hosting the Games was his “life-long dream.”

“Tokyo, 2020, will inspire many others, just as Tokyo did before in 1964,” the conservative premier said at a reception welcoming a 14-member team from the IOC evaluation commission.

The team, led by IOC vice president Craig Reedie of Britain, started four days of scrutinizing Tokyo’s Olympic blueprint and inspecting existing and planned facilities for 2020.

It will visit the other candidates, Madrid and Istanbul, later this month before drawing up a technical report on the three bids for the 101 IOC members who will vote to choose the 2020 host on Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires.

Abe, a former archer who heads the national archery federation, said “the Olympic spirit was the same spirit with which Japan grew to its height. And yet, in Asia, in 1964, Japan was a lone democracy. So for the Japanese, the Olympic spirit became a mission that we must help the rest of Asia to grow.”

The IOC team, including six voting IOC members and several advisers, is tasked with checking “Candidature Files” submitted by the three cities in January on 14 themes including infrastructure, finance, logistics and political and public support.

Tokyo’s plan features a “compact” and “dynamic” Olympics based on its financial wealth and track record in hosting international sports events.

Tokyo is the only one among the three candidates that has ever hosted an Olympics. Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda has admitted there was a preference among IOC members to spread the Games to untested regions. Istanbul could become the first city from a majority Muslim country to host the Olympic Games.

“It is wonderful to hold an Olympics in a new place as the Olympic symbol represents the five continents,” Takeda, an IOC member who also heads the Tokyo bid committee, said last month.
But noting that London successfully hosted its third Olympics last year, he added: “It is also very important that a matured country holds a truly wonderful Olympics.”