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Tokyo' Bid for the 2016 Summer Games
Poor public support may end Tokyo's bid
Beom-seok Sohn (gmitil10)     Print Article 
Published 2009-07-16 14:49 (KST)   
On the heels of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Tokyo is putting forth a bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Of the four final candidate cities announced by the IOC (Tokyo, Madrid, Chicago, and Rio de Janeiro) (1), Tokyo scored the highest in the preliminary evaluation. (1)

In terms of technical factors, Tokyo seems to have the indisputable lead amongst the four remaining candidate cities. Some call Tokyo the undeniable front-runner in the race to secure the rights to host the 2016 Olympics. Yet Tokyo is not without a myriad of problems that may undermine its bid. It will be interesting to see how these different factors will play out when the IOC announces the host city on October 2. (1)

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Tokyo' Bid for the 2016 Summer Games
The Japanese Olympic Committee chose Tokyo as its applicant city on August 30, 2006, ahead of its main competitor, Fukuoka. (2) As mentioned beforehand, Tokyo has many advantages that may push it ahead of its competitors.

First off, Tokyo셲 experience cannot be ignored. Japan's part in the wildly successful 2002 FIFA World Cup (which it co-hosted with Korea), along with its successful 1964 Summer Olympics, give Tokyo invaluable experience. In fact, Tokyo is the only city out of the four remaining candidate cities that has hosted the Olympics in the past (*Chicago was chosen to host the 1904 Summer Olympics, however, the Olympics were moved to St. Louis to coincide with the World Fair and were not held in Chicago.)

Complementing its experience is Tokyo's excellent infrastructure. Tokyo has perhaps the best transportation infrastructure of the four candidate cities, including a superior public transit system. Tokyo also has a plethora of sports infrastructure (such as the Kasumigaoka National Stadium) that it plans on using for the Olympic Games. Topping this off is Tokyo's reputation as a global center of commerce and culture.

The proposed development for the games is centered on Tokyo's waterfront, in an area that is currently known to be industrial and run-down. (3) Doing so is allowing the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) to market its bid as the "green games" -- that would be harmonious with nature and promote environmentalism. In fact, the JOC claims that many of the new structures involved in the games would have measures for reduced CO2 emissions and energy consumption. (3)

Yet despite all of these technical advantages, many (surprisingly some from within the IOC itself) doubt Tokyo's chances for a successful bid. This may be a result of various issues.

First of all, Chicago, Madrid, and Rio de Janeiro command significant public support. This is not the case in Japan. A poll conducted in May 2009 found that local support for the games hovered at around only 56 percent. (4) Some say that this is the result of Tokyo's plans to redevelop the waterfront area, which would entail removal of such popular venues as the Tsukiji Fish Market.

Regardless, the lack of strong support is something that could end up hurting Tokyo's chances. Furthermore, some doubt the chances of a successful Asian bid on the heels of the widely publicized 2008 Beijing Olympics.

As October draws near, it will be interesting to see how Tokyo's bid will fare despite its problems.

Footnotes:

1. "Race for the 2016 Games -." OhmyNews International. 07 July 2009.

2. "BBC SPORT | Other Sport... | Japan chooses Tokyo for 2016 bid." BBC NEWS | News Front Page. 08 July 2009 .

3. "Tokyo Promotes Eco-Friendly Games." GamesBids.com. 08 July 2009 .

4. "Sport Feed Article | Sport | guardian.co.uk." Latest news, comment and reviews from the Guardian | guardian.co.uk. 08 July 2009 .
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Beom-seok Sohn

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