POSTED: July 2nd 2013

Tokyo Games could revive the 2011 disaster hit area like nothing else

(L to R) Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and head of the bid and Masa Takaya, communications manager  / SFC
(L to R) Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and head of the bid and Masa Takaya, communications manager / SFC

Governor Naoki Inose / SFC
Governor Naoki Inose / SFC

LAURA WALDEN at the Beau Rivage / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) On the eve of the critical presentations to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the Tokyo bid team took a moment to emphasize the key points of their bid plan to a select group of Olympic media.

IOC member and bid chief, Tsunekazu Takeda was here in 2009 for the extraordinary session when the Tokyo bid team was bidding for the 2016 Games, which eventually went to Rio. He remembers what has happened since that last bid and what is new today, “We worked very hard to inspire the people and finally we got the very high public support rate of 70%. There is a really big difference between this time and last time.

“We changed many plans since last time and this new plan is the best one yet and we want to explain this clearly. We can deliver superb Games.”

But another thing that has happened since the last bid was the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan bringing disaster in its wake. Right after that there were slim hopes for a bid everything had been put on the back burner as the country dealt with the imminent emergencies at hand.

Then over time and with a lot of hard work the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) stepped in with on the spot aid to bring in Olympians and organize activities for the youth to get back to some normal recreational practices. It brought smiles and the hope to dream again and that inspired the will to go forward with the Olympic bid. It is a catalyst for hope and a vehicle for growth.

The proposed Torch Relay would take the Olympic Flame right through the hard hit zone to bring the invitation to the heartland of the people that could really use it. The Olympic Flame was basically the first international public relations means for the Games in ancient Greece. And it is still going strong.

Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose made light of the situation by telling his story behind his passion for the Games with sport taking him to new heights and at 65 years of age he plans to run 1000 kilometers this year. That sounds a little far-fetched on first, but he is banking on the wellness benefits for the population should Tokyo get the nod to host the 2020 Summer Games.

“Tokyo had the honor to host the Games in ’64, so for over 50 years we have not been able to host the Games in the city,” he said.

Inose also reiterated the benefits of having the Games to teach good values and teamwork to the youth and promote wellness for the older generations and help reduce the cost of health care.

One of the points that the bid team wanted to clarify was the need of any possible extra land around three legacy venues. The press office specified in a statement: “We noted the Evaluation Commission’s comment on the ‘space available around the Judo, table tennis and boxing venues.’ These three existing competition venues were used in the 1964 Olympic Games, and are located in our “Heritage Zone” in our 2020 Olympic Games plan. Tokyo 2020’s competition venue plans meet the standards of the IOC, and we have obtained approvals from the International Federations.

 “If it is determined that additional land is required, we have already obtained guarantees from the owners of the adjacent land.

We will continue to collaborate with the IOC and International Federations to realise our concept for the 2020 Games which will maximise convenience and provide a positive Games experience for all guests.”  

Masato Mizuno, ceo of the bid, added on the point of hotel availability, “Tokyo’s accommodation plan is exceptionally strong, with the IOC Evaluation Commission report confirming that ‘within a 50 km radius of Tokyo there are approximately 140,000 existing international-style hotel rooms, providing an ample choice of accommodation for Games clients, spectators, visitors and workforce.’  Tokyo has a wide variety of room types and categories which will meet the individual requirements of all guests of the Games.
“It is important to note that within each hotel category Tokyo 2020 offers a wide range of room rates and the figure the IOC cites in their report is the maximum rate.  Given the variety of hotels and room specifications within categories, in reality, the average room rates are much lower than the figures included in the report.
“Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to collaborate with hotel industry groups and travel agents to form a liaison council to ensure this wide range of reasonably-priced accommodation options is available to meet the individual needs of visitors.”

Tokyo is bidding against Madrid and Istanbul for the 2020 summer Games. The IOC will make their final choice in about 2 months time at the Buenos Aires IOC session on September 7th.

Keywords · Tokyo 2020 · Olympic Bidding · Summer Games

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Laura Walden ()

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