Japanese Olympic Committee vice president Masato Mizuno says country will go ahead with bid despite tsunami devastation.
|Takeda said that football marches could be played in the earthquake-hit northeast in nine years [GALLO/GETTY]|
Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) chief Tsunekazu Takeda has formally requested Tokyo to bid for the 2020 Olympics after the city failed to land the preceding event.
Tokyo, which lost out to Rio de Janeiro in the race for the 2016 Games, had no potential rivals to become Japan’s bid city after Hiroshima ditched its ambitions for financial reasons.
A senior JOC official said this month that the deadly earthquake and tsunami which struck north-east Japan on March 11 had “thrown bid preparations into a spin”.
However, with the nuclear crisis, triggered by the massive tsunami wave, still continuing 150 miles north of Tokyo, the JOC decided that enough funds existed to launch a new bid.
“We want to show how sports can be the symbol of Japan’s recovery from the disaster in north-east Japan,” Takeda said on Thursday.
“I believe it will be possible to have north-east Japan stage Olympic soccer games nine years from now.”
Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara added his support to a possible bid and how hosting the Games could benefit the nation.
‘Lots of medals’
“I want you to win lots of medals,” he said.
“Otherwise you won’t raise the spirits of the Japanese people. Let’s walk arm in arm towards this goal.”
Ishihara has spoken positively of bidding for 2020 since winning re-election in April, despite criticism for spending an estimated $175 million on Tokyo’s failed 2016 bid.
Hiroshima formally ended its flirtation with bidding for the Games earlier this month, citing debts still outstanding from the city’s hosting of the 1994 Asian Games.
It had initially proposed a joint bid with Nagasaki but the latter pulled the plug on their ambitions because of economic difficulties.