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Wednesday, 2nd January 2013

Japan's 2020 Olympic bid begins

With the Olympic torch being handed over from athletes in London 2012 to the next hosts, Rio de Janeiro, who will hold their Games in 2016, the race is now on to see who will win the bid for the 2020 event.

Tokyo is hoping that this time it will be successful although it will have to compete against Madrid and Istanbul in order to emerge as the outright winner.

The city was left disappointed after its bid to host the 2016 games failed when the city was eliminated, along with Chicago, in the initial rounds of voting.

Public support is vital to the success of the campaign and the president of the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee Tsunekazu Takeda stated that the city believes it has learnt from its previous attempts.

Mr Takeda said that in his 40 year involvement in sport "first as an athlete, then a team leader and now as President of the Japanese Olympic Committee … [he] has witnessed again and again the extraordinary power of sport - to heal, unite and inspire all kinds of positive change".

The president of the committee said that he also believed that Japan's ability to recover from the country's 2011 tsunami has given its people "a new motivation in the context of national rebuilding efforts".

He went on to suggest that the games would have a part to play in the "process of spiritual and physical recovery from that national tragedy".

He said that if the bid is successful Japan would have "an extraordinary opportunity to welcome and thank the international friends who supported our nation and our people during these difficult times".

In late December 2012, the committee announced that Japan's Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hakubun Shimomura had expressed his - and the government's – support for the bid.

Mr Shimomura said: "I was elected in Tokyo, so this bid means very much to me. I plan on attending the Candidature File submission press conference in Tokyo to reiterate the unequivocal support our newly formed national government will continue to provide the bid."

Written by Mark Smith

Related news stories:
Possible Olympic bronze for Japan after drug tests (4th September 2008)
Carl Lewis supports Tokyo's Olympic bid (4th April 2013)
Japan given Olympic Stadium deadline (26th August 2015)
70-year-old Japanese man qualifies for Olympics (5th March 2012)
Japanese government backs Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid (13th December 2011)