It's a three-way race between Tokyo, Istanbul, and Madrid, with the Turkish city the favorite, but Tokyo can make a compelling case that the games would be a good way to show support for its post-Tsunami development efforts.
An Olympic Games in Tokyo would generate $37 billion and create 150,000 jobs if the Japanese capital wins the nod next year to stage the 2020 summer Games, bid officials said on Saturday.
Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, is campaigning alongside Turkey’s Istanbul and Spanish capital Madrid with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) electing the host city in September 2013 at their session in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“If we host the Olympics, 2.9 trillion yen and 150,000 jobs will be created,” bid president Tsunekazu Takeda told reporters.
“Japan needs more energy and good news, bright news, happy news, and therefore by hosting the Olympics in Tokyo the sufferers in the (Tokyo) region will get hope for the future.”
Tokyo is hoping to land the Games as it seeks to recover from last year’s deadly earthquake and tsunami and the resulting nuclear crisis.
Public support, however, is well below the desired level with at least 20 percent against the bid and about 30 percent undecided.
An IOC survey earlier this year showed just 47 percent of Tokyo’s citizens support the city’s second successive bid for the Summer Games after failing to win the 2016 Olympics.
The poll showed 78 percent supported debt-hit Madrid’s bid with 73 percent backing the Istanbul bid in the three-horse race.
“It is not like a lot of people are against it. So we need to win over that 30 percent,” said Takeda, who became an IOC member earlier this week.
The capital is planning to construct a new Olympic stadium with a retractable roof, irrespective of the IOC vote, ahead of the 2019 rugby World Cup, at a cost of 130 billion yen, officials said.
“We want to be a big country again and we have the potential to become a great country,” said former Japan Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who is a vice chairman of the Tokyo 2020 council.
“We made the mistake of fighting in the World War II. All major cities were destroyed and millions died. But Japan grew again and we became one of the major industrial economies.”
“Then we suffered this tsunami and we have fiscal problems. Now we have to come up again,” said Mori.
Editing by Justin Palmer