POSTED: April 15th 2009

Prime Minister's Tokyo pledge

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso arrives to address the IOC evaluation commission / Tokyo2016
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso arrives to address the IOC evaluation commission / Tokyo2016

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

TOKYO, Apr 16: Japan is offering the most far-reaching, recession-defying guarantees to the International Olympic Committee in support of Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Games.

Whether that will be enough to win International Olympic Committee favour is another matter. It is of significance, of course, but is not the only issue under review by the IOC’s designated evaluation commisson on its four-day visit here.

Commission members, led by Nawal El Moutawakel (below), have already visited Chicago with rivals Rio de Janeiro and Madrid the remaining stops on their round-the-world investigation.

At least Tokyo began as positively as possible with Japanese government support demonstrated first by the presence of Prime Minister Taro Aso and then by his fulsome pledge of support.

Aso, an Olympic competitor in clay pigeon shooting in Montreal in 1976, said: “We will abide in full by every guarantee in the candidature file.

"We will ensure that whatever needs to be done will be done, whatever needs to be built will be built, whatever needs to be financed will be financed. That is our promise now and in the years leading up to 2016.”

Environment focus

Supporting the prime minister was Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara who addressed the bid’s concentration on environmental concerns as well as more specific issues such as legacy, public transport and even local cuisine.

He said: “We have reached the point of no return for the environmental and the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be an excellent opportunity to showcase how we can save our planet.”

Ishihara also stressed the robust finances of Tokyo in support of the necessary construction programme for which $3.7m had already been set aside in the Tokyo city budget.

Bid ceo Ichiro Kono reported to the commission the compact nature of the “heart of the city” venues project and how this would support the concept of “setting the stage for heroes.”

Yosufe Fujiwara, the bid’s senior executive officer, reviewing the official opening morning of the evaluation visit, said: “I think the most important point was that the government and parliament is offering such full-scale support.”

Prime Minister Aso was accompanied by the Secretary of State and Olympian, Seiko Hashimoto; Minister of Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone as well as Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ryu Shinomiya.

Also featured in the Tokyo delegation were former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori as chair of the Parliamentary Tokyo Support group, the Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda, architect Tadao Ando and Mikako Kotani who was an Olympic medallist in synchronised swimming and is chair of the Tokyo 2016 Athletes’ Commission.

Keywords · Tokyo 2016 · Olympic Games · IOC · evaluation commission

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