Tokyo's new Olympics bid 'badly needs lobbying power' | Inquirer Sports

Tokyo’s new Olympics bid ‘badly needs lobbying power’

/ 03:06 PM July 17, 2011

TOKYO – Tokyo has launched another bid for the Olympics, but pundits at home fear it could go the same way as the unsuccessful tilt at the 2016 Games because of a lack of lobbying power.

The city and the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) formally announced Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games at a sparkling reception in the capital marking the JOC’s 100th anniversary on Saturday.

“The JOC’s diplomatic power is in question,” the Nikkei newspaper said Sunday as it analysed the chances of Tokyo’s new bid, officially touted as a “symbol” of Japan’s recovery from March’s earthquake-tsunami disaster.


But sympathy would not bring success, the business daily cautioned: “The bidding race is not so easy as to be won by a noble message.”


Nearly 30 members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) including president Jacques Rogge and Olympic Council of Asia chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah were present at the reception.

Rogge welcomed the bid, as he has done in response to any Olympic bid in the job he has held since 2001, calling it “excellent”. He told the gathering the IOC wished “good luck” to Tokyo, which has hosted the Games once, in 1964.

But Tokyo’s outspoken governor Shintaro Ishihara was not so sensitive when he proposed a toast with wooden cups of sake, the strong rice-based tipple.

“There is no point in fighting the battle that is the Olympic bidding if we don’t win it,” he declared. “Tokyo won’t mind breaking sweat and fighting a bloody battle in making money and building facilities.”

“I want the JOC to win the bloody battle no matter what,” said Ishihara, who headed the 2016 bid committee.

The 78-year-old novelist-turned politician later likened Japanese Olympic officials to strikers in football. “We can’t win if they aren’t good,” he said.


His blunt remarks were taken by the Nikkei to show his frustration with the JOC’s “lack of personal connections in the world of international sports”.

The mass-circulation Yomiuri Shimbun also called on the JOC to “make steady efforts to expand personal connections by inviting international competitions and taking advantage of conferences and events”.

In 2009, Tokyo was among the cities — along with Madrid and Chicago — that lost out to Rio de Janeiro in the 2016 race.

Rio was helped by star power in the form of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and football legend Pele. Chicago had US President Barack Obama behind it while Spanish soccer stars and King Juan Carlos supported Madrid’s bid.

Yukio Hatoyama, another of Japan’s short-lived prime ministers of recent years, represented Tokyo.

The Japanese capital spent around 15 billion yen, now $190 million, on bidding to host what was sold as a compact and “green” Olympics by reducing carbon emissions from Games-related projects and operations.

This time Tokyo will again come up against Madrid, and Rome, while Istanbul and Doha are also reportedly considering bids.

Candidates must submit their entry by September 1 and the winner will be chosen in Buenos Aires in September 2013.

Rogge told reporters in Tokyo that the recent selection of South Korea’s Pyeongchang as the 2018 Winter Olympics host would not hamper any bid from another Asian city for the Summer Games two years later.

“There is a perception that there is an automatic rotation of continents. This is not the case,” Rogge said, citing a few precedents in Europe.

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But the influential Asahi Shimbun warned: “Not just a few IOC members are opposed to consecutive Winter and Summer Olympics in East Asia.”

TAGS: BID, business, Disaster, Japan, Marketing, Olympics 2020, Sports, Tokyo, tsunami

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