POSTED: November 11th 2011

Tokyo 2020: Mizuno fine tuning the bid after IOC conference

Tokyo 2020 ceo Masato Mizuno met with the Japanese press immediately following the IOC meetings / SFC images
Tokyo 2020 ceo Masato Mizuno met with the Japanese press immediately following the IOC meetings / SFC images

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

LAUSANNE/TAMPA: got to catch up with Masato Mizuno, ceo of the Tokyo 2020 bid, during the Bidding for the Games 2020 orientation seminar at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne last week.

Mizuno, who holds the position of vice-president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), felt so compelled to get behind the bid that he retired from the helm of his family owned sportswear and equipment manufacturing business to take up the leading role of the second consecutive bid.

The tragic earthquake in March of this year put Tokyo's bid plans on the back burner. But with a little time and a lot of passion, they decided to dive in. 

Tokyo is a strong contender in the 2020 bid race as one of the top three most influential economic centers in the world with New York and London. It also carries more Michelin stars than any other city on the planet.

Last week all six of the bid cities were in Lausanne at the IOC headquarters for two back to back seminars giving them information to better complete their bid files. Tokyo joined compeititor cities Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid and Rome.

Mizuno filled us in on the experience and noted, “There were so many elements and so much to learn, I feel like I had gone back to school.”

He also said that it was hard to pick the topic that he liked the most, “The lecture was so sophisticated and really explained everything so precisely making it very easy to understand, but there are so many items to cover. The IOC provided us with a USB drive full of all the presentations so we just have to add to this our notes on what the lecturers emphasized.”

He also said that there hadn’t been much time to get to know the other bids that everyone was cramming to get every drop of information they could.

So just like all the other bids it was back to the drawing board after the meetings, “We have already studied the actions, now we’ve had to just go home and get the preparations ready for the questionnaire for the middle of February.”

“I feel I have to work really hard especially after listening to the seminar.”

Mizuno also confirmed that he would be lobbying the government, “On June 17th of this year the sports basic law was passed, so this makes things easier for our bidding. In the past the government had a little hesitation to give the guarantees for seven years later. But this time for any international sports events, when we make a bid, the government gets behind it. These are the provisions and this is lucky for us too.”

The Basic law on sport was passed by the Japanese government and outlines the promotion of sports and physical activity as a state responsibility. The objective is to establish a new sports culture that helps revitalize regions and cut medical spending by capitalizing on the benefits offered by sporting activities.

He also touched on the earthquake and all how are the people feeling about the bid, “In the beginning, people had some questions, but with a little time going by, they have embraced the bid. We can encourage them.”

Public opinion is something that the IOC takes seriously, Mizuno said, “The last time we did a poll [on public opinion] it was through Kyodo News and there was 61% support for the 2020 bid. And according to the IOC poll for 2016 they had the figures at 55.6% so things have changed.”

“Now we are going to really start working to get the support from the public,” he confirmed. “The IOC individual poll will be in February of 2013 so we will constantly work hard to get the numbers up.”

We also asked his opinion about PyeongChang, South Korea winning the Games for 2018 and if he thought it would affect the bid having the Games in Asia for two consecutive editions.

Mizuno said, “According to President Rogge he has mentioned that all the Olympic Games are different, so this won’t affect the bid. But some people say otherwise. A number of the votes might be moved but the mainly the results will be about how hard we work.”

“We studied a lot so that means we must focus and work harder!” he concluded.

European cities London, England and Sochi, Russia are set for two consecutive editions for 2012 and 2014 before the Games go to South America for the first time for Rio 2016. So it might very well be the IOC’s vision to reinforce sports in Asia by awarding another edition to the continent.

The long road to the final vote will wind up in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 7th of 2013.

Keywords · IOC · Tokyo 2020 · Masato Mizuno

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