POSTED: April 12th 2011

Mizuno: Tokyo's pursuit of 2020 Olympic dream could raise morale

Tokyo could be a strong contender for 2020 if they bid / Tokyo 2016
Tokyo could be a strong contender for 2020 if they bid / Tokyo 2016

(L to R) Keir Radnedge, Laura Walden, Masato Mizuno and Sujin Chun at SportAccord / Mizuno photo
(L to R) Keir Radnedge, Laura Walden, Masato Mizuno and Sujin Chun at SportAccord / Mizuno photo

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/TAMPA, Apr 12: Masato Mizuno, vice-president of the Japanese National Olympic Committee, has told exclusively about the highly delicate and sensitive issue over whether Tokyo should jump back into the 2020 summer Games bid race.

The tragedy triggered by the March 11 earthquake which scored a nine on the Richter scale and set off a devastating tsunami, meant that the bid plan was placed on hold.
Mizuno expressed both his and the JOC's gratitude for the support offered by the International Olympic Committee; apart from his JOC role he is a member of the IOC sport and environment commission apart as well as chairman of the board of directors of the sportswear giant Mizuno.

He said, “The IOC appointed Ser Miang Ng as the coordinator of the support mission and he visited Tokyo and we held a press conference with JOC officials. This was a great inspiration for all the citizens of Japan about the immediate help coming from the sports world.”

Mizuno had been in London to attend SportAccord last week with his priority being to thank people who had set support wheels in motion. Japan remained safe top visit despite recent events and sports directors were in discussions to bring other events to the country shortly.

He said: “Today we need sports events to raise morale across the country. I was lucky enough to make a presentation to the IOC executive board to show our appreciation and we invited all the member to our centennial celebration. We would like to have more sports events.”

The world figure skating championships which had been scheduled for Tokyo between March 21 and 27 had been postponed as well as several other sporting events. However the Olympic Council of Asia would hold its general assembly there as planned on July 14 after an executive board meeting.

The following two days (July 15-16) will see the JOC celebrate its centennial as an Olympic committee with the IOC president Dr Jacques Rogge in attendance.

Mizuno said there damage to the city of Tokyo had been comparatively minimal with limited suspension of railway services and conditional blackouts.

Many sports events scheduled for Japan later this year - such as triathlon, gymnastics and volleyball - remained on the calendar while long-serving Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, a leading figure in the city's unsuccessful 2016 bid, had been re-elected comfortably last weekend.

Tokyo 2020

The centennial meeting will decide if the JOC wants to go forward with a bid. The focus will then switch to choosing a bid city. Hiroshima has also expressed interest in bidding for the summer Games.

Mizuno said: “The city must make a decision first and then we will discuss the possibilities. We have to be fair to everyone."

Explaining the significance of a bid, despite the disaster which left 14,000 dead and equally as many missing, Mizuno said: "If we decide to go forward with a bid it would raise morale. It would be giving the people something to look forward to and take their minds off this disaster. This would be the purpose behind a bid.”

This would be entirely in line with the stated mission of the JOC to foster sports and bring events to Japan. Maybe in the midst of all the tragedy a bid could bring its people some hope and inspiration.

Mizuno corporate support

He added, "At Mizuno Corp, we donated about an amount of cash US$360,000- and 20,000 pieces of sportswear and shoes right after the tragic events happened. 

"We have 2 offices in the suffered area but fortunally the altitude of the locations are high enough, no Tsunami damage.  No one was hurt either and no
family members were injured."

Keywords · Japan · earthquake · Masato Mizuno · JOC · Olympic bidding

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