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The Beijing Olympics have been about superlatives: the biggest stadium, the longest torch relay, the most money spent by a Games host.

Officials from Tokyo, a finalist in the race to host the Summer Olympics in 2016, have been wooing International Olympic Committee delegates here with an entirely different message: Small is beautiful.

Tokyo says it would, if selected, hold a "compact" Games that will be easier on finances and on the environment. Access from the proposed Athletes' Village to most Olympic venues will take 18 minutes or less on public transport, officials say -- a contrast to Beijing's sprawling Olympics.

And there will be no big construction rush: The city intends to recycle some venues from Tokyo's 1964 Olympics.

"We don't feel like Beijing's set the standard in any way," says Ichiro Kono, chairman of the Tokyo 2016 committee, which is handling the bid. "We're not aiming to be big."

Tokyo's bid, which goes head-to-head with those from Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro, is a sign of struggling local finances in a country that suffered from a more than decade-long economic slump in the 1990s and early 2000s, and has seen only weak growth since then.

The bid addresses concerns among national and international Olympics officials that host cities are going overboard with their spending. Beijing spent an estimated $42 billion total on its Games. In London, which will play host to the 2012 Games, estimates have ballooned from £3.4 billion ($6.3 billion) to almost £10 billion on costs for a new Aquatics Center and other venues.

Most of all, Tokyo's bid symbolizes a shift in national priorities: For Japan, the Games are no longer about showcasing national prowess.

After decades of relentless focus on economic growth, Japan has shifted down a gear, and its leaders now stress a new goal: to be a "lifestyle superpower," not an economic one.

The government, which once masterminded the growth of steel and microchip industries, has shifted more attention to promoting cultural exports such as its cartoons and cuisine.

The new national self-image includes more sports, both in top-class competition and for the general public. And a group of politicians has suggested creating a ministry dedicated to sport. Japan's performance in Beijing has been disappointing; its Olympians won 25 medals, below the 37 they won four years ago in Athens.

"China's Olympics was about demonstrating their rising power," Mr. Kono says. "Japan's will be very different."

The IOC is scheduled to vote for a host city for the 2016 Summer Games in late 2009.

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Tokyo education board to dispatch Olympians to schools as lecturers

Friday 09th January, 06:31 AM JST

TOKYO — The Tokyo board of education said Thursday it will dispatch former Japanese Olympians, including softball gold medalist Yukiko Ueno, and their coaches to schools in the metropolitan area as special lecturers or coaches for club activities starting late January.

The move is aimed at providing opportunities for students attending elementary, junior high and senior high schools as well as schools for those with special needs to familiarize themselves further with sports and to improve their techniques through exchanges with top athletes, officials of the Tokyo metropolitan government’s school board said.

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Tokyo planning half marathon to boost 2016 Olympic bid

Saturday 10th January, 06:54 AM JST

The Japanese Olympic Committee is considering holding a large-scale half marathon in Tokyo to boost the Japanese capital’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Games, it was learned Friday.

The JOC wants to jointly stage the event featuring around 30,000 competitors with the Olympians Association of Japan and is looking to pencil in the race for mid-September. The International Olympic Committee will select the host city for the 2016 Games in October at its general assembly in Copenhagen. To help gather momentum for Tokyo’s bid, the proposal involves Olympians from various sports helping with the operation of the event by distributing water and offering encouragement to general runners in the race, according to sources close to the matter.

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Former medalists promote Tokyo's bid to host 2016 Olympic Games


Kosuke Kitajima, left, Shinji Morisue and Tomomi Morita urge the crowd to support Tokyo's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games on Sunday afternoon at the west exit of the JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. (Mainichi)

Japanese Olympic medalists appealed to residents of Tokyo on Sunday to support the capital's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Kosuke Kitajima, gold medal swimmer at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, encouraged the crowd to support Tokyo's bid near JR Shinjuku Station, along with Shinji Morisue, the 1984 Los Angeles games gymnastics gold medalist, and Tomomi Morita, a bronze medal swimmer at the 2004 Athens games.

"Competing in the Olympic Games was my childhood dream, and my dream to be a gold medalist has come true," said Kitajima who heads a support group to promote the 2016 Tokyo Olympic Games bid.

"To help children's dreams come true, I would like to support Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games with everyone here," appealed Kitajima.

According to a poll conducted in December by the Tokyo 2016 Olympic Games Bid Committee, 70.2 percent of residents in Japan support Tokyo to host the 2016 games.

Tokyo, which hosted the summer Olympics in 1964, is competing with Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Summer Games.

The venue will be chosen at the International Olympic Committee's General Assembly meeting in October.

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Tokyo's Olympic bid gets much-needed boost

Tuesday 27th January

TOKYO — Officials working to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Tokyo welcomed Monday the Japanese government’s plan to assume the role of ultimate financial guarantor of the Games. Top government spokesman Takeo Kawamura said in a speech Monday in Tokyo, ‘‘Japan has previously failed in its bid to host major international sporting events. Now the government is considering taking responsibility for any losses incurred by the Tokyo Olympics.’’

The International Olympic Committee will name the host city of the 2016 Olympics from among Tokyo, Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro at its general assembly meeting in Copenhagen in October 2009. Government financial backing has been seen as a prerequisite for winning Olympic bids in recent years. ‘‘I hear that cities without financial assurance are unlikely to host the Olympics, so it’s great news. I would like to express my appreciation to the government,’’ Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda said.

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JOC gives up Tokyo half marathon plan

Tuesday 27th January

TOKYO — The Japanese Olympic Committee has given up on a plan to hold a large-scale half marathon in Tokyo to boost the capital’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics because of funding problems, it was learned Monday.

The JOC and the Olympians Association of Japan had discussed the possibility of jointly staging the event featuring around 30,000 runners in mid-September before the International Olympic Committee selects the host city for the 2016 Games at its general assembly in Copenhagen on Oct 2. A senior JOC official said the committee will still consider having a half marathon in Tokyo from next year on a National Sports Day holiday in October.

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Tokyo launches new city promotion

Thursday, 29 Jan 2009

Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced an exciting Tokyo City Promotion is to be held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London in January 2009 to increase and welcome visitors from UK.

Celebrating ‘COOL TOKYO’, the event is designed to illustrate the best of traditional and modern that the capital city offers. A feast for the senses awaits, showcasing traditional crafts, cutting-edge trends, elegant artistry, and fast fashion and technology in a salute to old, new and everything that makes this global mega-lopolis unique.

The Tokyo City Promotion is the first of its kind in the UK, aiming to attract visitors to Tokyo through live dance and drum performances of Japanese traditional artists in addition to a traditional ‘Ukiyoe’ exhibition, which includes the prominent painter Hokusai’s renowned work, and several famous animations showings, including 'Astro Boy'.

Visitors will be able to try their hand at origami, along with calligraphy, and can participate in a tea ceremony.

Also on offer is the opportunity to have a customised photo taken against a scenic backdrop of the city. A robot will introduce the latest technology and visitors can enjoy an interactive booth providing the latest sightseeing information. The admission is free.

Akira Kojima, senior director of the Tourism Division of Tokyo Metropolitan Government says: "Tokyo has been selected as one of the candidate cities for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and will continue evolving into a competitive player to host the Olympics.

"Tokyo City Promotion is a fantastic opportunity to promote the exciting range of tourism product in the city – being such a multifaceted destination, the event will offer a diverse day out for those wishing to find out more."

Tokyo Day takes place on January 31st between 10:00 and 20:00, at the Royal Horticultural Halls, London.

For further information on the event please visit TCP 2009.

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Tokyo sure of the finance


LAURA WALDEN and KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

TOKYO/TAMPA, Feb 03: Tokyo 2016 bid leaders are confident they have all the financing in place to provide perfect reassurance for any IOC members worried about the fall-out from the global financial crisis.

The economic security on which Tokyo bid is founded has been set out by Senior Executive Officer Yosuke Fujiwara in a wide-ranging interview on the Games ambitions of the Japanese city which competes next October in Copenhagen against bids from Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

Fujiwara said: “Our bid is committed to implement a secure budget and we’d like to demonstrate to the IOC the strength of Japan’s bid to host the 2016 Games in the heart of the capital. I think the finances are robust; a reliable financial background is essential to host the Olympic Games and also for the sake of the Olympic moment.

Extensive redevelopment

“The Tokyo government had already allocated US$3.3bn during the last financial year and for the financial year starting in April this year the last quarter of $1.1bn will be added so there will not be any negative influence from this world financial crisis.”

Fujiwara pointed out that, in any case, the overall Tokyo city budget for 2009 is approximately $74bn, the largest budget for any city in the world. He said: “So it can easily absorb the turbulence caused by the present economic situation.”

He is also extremely positive about the extensive city centre redevelopment demanded by Tokyo’s Games layout which stresses “compactness” and convenience for both athletes and spectators. The bid fits neatly into the city government’s Big Change Plan, a 10-year redevelopment project launched in 2006.

Fujiwara said: “This plan was formulated not specifically for the Olympics but to redevelop the city centre and so work has already started. In that sense the 2016 Games would be a catalyst for the development plan and, coincidentally, a big advantage.”

Tokyo’s bid envisages 95pc of the venues being located within a five-mile radius and using many facilities built originally for 1964. Fujiwara does not believe this risks transport and crowd management problems.

“Being compact and being small are too different things,” he said. “Our No1 target is directed especially at the athletes and their support teams and ensuring they have only a short distance to travel to the competition venues from the Olympic Village.

“No2 is so the Olympic family and, especially, spectators can experience more of the world’s greatest sports events and enjoy more of the atmosphere because the Games area is compact to make the atmosphere even more exciting. You experienced something like it in the Olympic green in Beijing and we’d like to create that kind of atmosphere.

“No3 is that this will happen in the heart of the city so this will reach a lot of the inhabitants of Tokyo and will have a very good effect on the children.”

Transport pressure

Tokyo’s world-famous rail and subway system will take the brunt of the transport pressure. Bid leaders plan on using the existing passenger transport system plus an Olympic transport system with athletes’ shuttle and media shuttle services.

The city’s railway network is about 1,000km – more than 600miles. By comparison, the London underground is 500km in total. It also lays claim to being one of the world’s busiest public transport systems, carrying 23m people every day. Fujiwara asserts this means the addition of the spectators and other people attending the venues will not really affect the existing system.

“We are also planning to enhance our pubic transport capabilities by using our rivers as well as some new underground lines which are planned,” he added. “Another idea of ours to avert congestion is equip spectators’ tickets with microchip technology so they can touch the machine and ride on the rail without paying any cash. This will speed up the movement of spectators.”


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Tokyo bid says $4 billion already secured for 2016

Tokyo has already secured $4 billion to fund construction of venues for the 2016 Olympics despite the global economic downturn, a leader of the Japanese bid said Thursday.

Hidetoshi Maki, deputy director of the Tokyo 2016 bid team, said the money has been set aside by the government for construction of sports facilities, roads and other infrastructure costs.

"The money has been secured. It is in the bank," Maki said during a stopover in London. "We have the money already."

In addition, he said, the government has fully guaranteed the games' proposed operating budget of $3.1 billion, which would be raised through television rights, ticket sales and merchandising.

"The economy is in good shape," Maki said. "The total budget is financially stable. We don't think our bid is highly damaged by the economic crisis."

Tokyo has already secured $4 billion to fund construction of venues for the 2016 Olympics despite the global economic downturn, a leader of the Japanese bid said Thursday.

Hidetoshi Maki, deputy director of the Tokyo 2016 bid team, said the money has been set aside by the government for construction of sports facilities, roads and other infrastructure costs.

"The money has been secured. It is in the bank," Maki said during a stopover in London. "We have the money already."

In addition, he said, the government has fully guaranteed the games' proposed operating budget of $3.1 billion, which would be raised through television rights, ticket sales and merchandising.

"The economy is in good shape," Maki said. "The total budget is financially stable. We don't think our bid is highly damaged by the economic crisis."

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Legacy is Tokyo 2016 target

Tokyo bid leaders are well aware of the significance of legacy issues when the IOC decides next autumn on which city will host the 2016 Olympic Games.

The Japanese city competes in Copenhagen against bids from Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro and Senior Executive Officer Yosuke Fujiwara is confident with the power of Tokyo’s arguments on environmental, disability and educational and issues.

A high level of concern for environmental health and wellbeing featured already in the ambitious, 10-year Big City Plan which the Tokyo city government launched in 2006.

Fujiwara said: “Tokyo has set itself the goal of becoming the global centre with the least impact on the environment, especially with regards to the reduction of carbon dioxide to avoid greenhouse effect.

“This will be the biggest legacy from the Games which would last even beyond the 10-year project. Our aim is to reduce co2 emissions by 25pc by 2020 compared with levels in 2000. This will be a great gift for the future not only for Japan but for the entire globe.”

Barrier-free project

A specific issue which is also a personal issue for Fujiwara is in plotting “the biggest legacy” in making to make Tokyo a barrier-free city in terms of accessibility.

He said: “The city government is upgrading public facilities in all rail and subway stations for handicapped persons to install elevators or escalators which are wheelchair friendly and all rail and subway stations in Tokyo will have a visually-impaired guide by 2010. Barrier-free does not mean only wheelchair access but also access for visually impaired people or audio impaired people.”

In this context the legacy is not merely the practical facilities but also the education of Japan’s youth.

Paralympic awareness

Fujiwara explained: “The aim is partly a spiritual and/or mental one so that our young people so that they will become more aware of disabled or handicapped people. I’m pretty sure that awareness of disability will be raised by the Paralympic Games.

“Certainly, from my own point of view, the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 1964 gave me such an awareness. It was the first time I had heard the phrase so I’m pretty sure the 2016 Games can leave a spiritual legacy about this issue for today’s young people.”

The Tokyo bid team has already launched powerful and wide-ranging youth education programmes through schools and colleges to instruct young people in the values of the Olympic movement and also include a guide to a practical, healthy-living ethos which can be developed in combating obesity issues.

Hence the Tokyo slogan: “Uniting Our World.”

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The Tokyo 2016 Olympic: Tokyo pushes 'compact' Games

The Tokyo 2016 Olympic bid committee is hoping that less will be more.

Less travel time to events and venues for athletes, spectators and media; a less harmful impact on the environment; less costly construction projects by using existing facilities.

"The idea is to have a compact Games that are very athlete-friendly," Yosuke Fujiwara, Tokyo 2016 senior executive officer of planning and PR, said during a recent media tour of the proposed venues. "You will be able to reach most of the venues from the athletes' village within 20 minutes."

Of course, they also point out that when it comes to overall finances, it doesn't hurt to have a little more.

Tokyo is up against bids from Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Games. The winning bid will be announced by the International Olympic Committee on Oct. 2 in Copenhagen.

The focal point of the Tokyo proposal will be a brand-new 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium to be built in Tokyo Bay on reclaimed land, just northwest of Ariake Colosseum. The proposed stadium will be semi-enclosed and feature large solar panels and possibly wind turbines to cut down on the need for electricity.

With the new stadium as the centerpiece, organizers boast that 95 percent of the Olympic events will be held within an 8-kilometer radius. There will be preliminary round soccer matches at far-flung sites like Sapporo and Saitama, but for the most part, the events will be quite concentrated.

"With 95 percent of all venues located within the 8-kilometer radius, this will be the most compact Games ever," said Masanori Takaya, the bid's manager of international communications.

Takaya pointed out that within the 8-km circle, there would be five main venue "clusters" representing various themes. The "Palace Cluster," for example, would be geared toward Japanese culture while the "Sea Forest Cluster" would highlight sustainable Tokyo, with the planting of trees.

In keeping with the theme of an environmentally friendly Games, several facilities, such as the mountain-biking course and equestrian events, will be staged on landfill sites and reclaimed land.

"As part of our unique 'green' and sustainable Games plan, 20 out of 34 Olympic venues will be on reclaimed land, helping to ensure that Tokyo 2016 will be the 'greenest' Games ever staged," Fujiwara said. "This equates to approximately 60 percent of competition venues."

The Tokyo 2016 bid plans to use 23 existing venues with 11 new venues proposed, many of those to go up on land already owned by the metropolitan government. Among the more interesting venues that are already in operation, the Nippon Budokan, which was built for the 1964 Olympics, would host judo and the famed Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena will be the site of the boxing competition.

While Tokyo's proposal has gotten high marks from the IOC so far--the bid ranked first or second in 10 of the 11 categories assessed by the Candidature Acceptance Working Group--the biggest strength may be the metropolis' finances rather than its venue plans.

"The Tokyo metropolitan government has 6.6 trillion yen from its annual budget in its general account, the most for any city in the world," Takaya said. "We already have $4.4 billion (402 billion yen) secured for the Games from the TMG and Japan's central government will guarantee the event."

Not all in the Tokyo assembly, however, support huge spending on the Olympics with the total budget for the bid campaign alone to top 10 billion yen. Other funding for the Games will come from television rights, sponsorship from the private sector and ticket sales.

Final details of the Tokyo 2016 bid's budget will not be revealed until after Thursday, the deadline for the four cities to make their final candidature submissions to the IOC. After that, the next key date is in mid-April, when the IOC's evaluation commission hits town to check out the bid up close and personal.

Tokyo's bid initially suffered from public indifference--an IOC poll conducted in June showed that only 59 percent of the public backed Tokyo's Olympic bid, the lowest among all four candidate cities (Chicago 74 percent, Rio 77, Madrid 90)--but organizers say they have overcome that, pointing to a recent Internet poll that showed local support up to 70.2 percent. (That poll was carried out by a private entity commissioned by the Tokyo 2016 Bid Committee.)

Security concerns could work against both Madrid and Rio de Janeiro, which means Chicago is expected to be Tokyo's main competition in the race. The U.S. Midwest city will likely get a major boost from native son Barack Obama, the newly elected U.S. president who may travel to Copenhagen in October for the final vote. Tokyo organizers have countered that they hope to have Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso in Denmark, but even if Aso is still in power at the time, he would appear to be no match for the cachet and star-power of Obama.(IHT/Asahi: February 11,2009)

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Tokyo aiming to woo 2016 Olympics with vow to use 'green energy'

TOKYO — Thursday 12th February, 06:10 AM JST

The Tokyo metropolitan government, seeking to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in the capital, is considering powering all Olympic-related facilities with electricity generated with ‘‘green energy’’ sources in its efforts to win over the International Olympic Committee, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The sources defined such ‘‘green energy’’ as electricity generated with sunlight, wind power, heat from garbage incineration plants in the Tokyo bayside area and other energy sources that do not rely on the burning of nuclear power, crude oil or other fossil fuel. The metropolitan government plans to prove the truthfulness of its compliance with the promise to power all facilities with green energy throughout the period when the event is held by getting energy sellers to the metropolitan government to issue ‘‘certificates’’ to verify such sales, they said.

The city to host the 2016 Games will be determined at an IOC congress to be held in Copenhagen in October.


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China says Asian countries will support Tokyo's 2016 Olympic bid

TOKYO — Asian countries will support Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, Chinese State Sports General Administration Director Liu Peng told Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone on Monday, according to Japan’s Foreign Ministry. In response to Nakasone’s request to support the bid, China’s state sports director said Japan is capable of hosting a successful Olympic Games.

Liu was also quoted as saying that he felt that the Japanese government and people are determined to host the Olympics, after seeing the sites that would be used for the event. The Chinese official expressed the hope of promoting sports exchanges with Japan.


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Tokyo Olympians to enjoy hot springs therapy


TAMPA, Feb. 17: Tokyo's plans for the Olympic Village have an added bonus – offering Olympians a natural hot springs spa featuring mineral-rich hot-spring waters within walking distance.

What better way for athletes to relax and refresh, soothe competition jitters, get a massage and recharge those world class batteries?

Japan has more than 1,800 natural 'onsen' (hot-spring baths) complete with outdoor baths, jacuzzi, steam baths and saunas which offer athletes and spectators alike a chance to ease their travel weary souls before re-emerging to enjoy the excitement of the Olympic Games.

Warm bubbling waters, a soothing massage and a quiet meal creates an oasis of serenity, perfect as a brief interlude from the grinding Olympic schedule. There are a number within an 8km radius of the Olympic Stadium.

Yosuke Fujiwara, Tokyo 2016's senior executive officer, said: "Therapeutic hot springs are very healing and it is a good idea to rest your feet in the hot waters. I think it would be good for the athletes. It's a natural."

Soothing Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari is situated as a re-created Edo-era bathhouse cluster just three stations (about 2km) from Tokyo 2016's proposed Olympic village site.

It features languishing hot bubbling springs which emerge from more than 1,400 metres below the earth's surface. The springs are rich with sodium and chloride ions, calcium, magnesium and other elements to alleviate the pains caused by neuralgia and arthralgia, and improve poor circulation.

This one is well known for its wide choice of baths and the women's section alone has 17 different varieties from which to choose. As many as many as 6,500 bathers pour into this facility on weekends already.

A 50-metre footbath would be perfect for tired athletes and spectators to rejuvenate worn out feet after a long day walking around the Olympic venues and the Olympic Green. Another perk is that visitors could enjoy the outdoor baths and stargaze in the middle of Tokyo Bay, have a massage and leisurely dine at one of the 16 restaurants.

For a more recreational spa experience the baths of the Tokyo Dome LaQua at the heart of Tokyo 2016's 'Heritage Zone' offers an outdoor 'rotemburo' bath, a jet pool, and a sauna.

This spa sources waters from the Koishikawa spring, which comes from 1,700 metres underground and is open 22hrs a day. LaQua also offers sodium-chloride strong salt hot springs (hypertonic/neutrality/hot springs) that should be WADA-friendly.

Too bad the horses cannot take advantage of the water therapy.

For the extra energetic crowd, the Tokyo Dome boasts an adjoining amusement park with roller coasters just in case the Olympics are not providing enough excitement.

All in all the Tokyo bid is studying ways to offer a different and unique Olympic experience for both the Games and the Paralympics and create a role model for the future.


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The Tokyo 2016 Olympic One-on-one with Ichiro Kono, chairman of Tokyo bid committee for 2016 Olympics

Dr. Ichiro Kono is the chairman and CEO of Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. A graduate of Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Kono has served as Delegation Medical Doctor for Japan in three consecutive Olympics. The former rugby player is heading up an ambitious--and well-funded--bid that is up against Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

An International Olympic Committee evaluation commission will tour the proposed sites and venues in April before the IOC votes on the 2016 host at its congress in Copenhagen on Oct. 2.

Kono recently sat down for an interview with IHT/Asahi at bid headquarters in the Tokyo Metropolitan Building in Shinjuku.

* * *

As you know, staging the Olympics is very costly these days. Why should Tokyo be awarded the 2016 Summer Games and what, specifically, will be the benefits to Tokyo if it wins the rights to host the Olympics in 2016?

Our motivation is very clear. The Japanese people, particularly Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, clearly know the impact of the Olympic Games on the younger generation, the Japanese people and also the city itself. Governor Ishihara, myself and all of my colleagues would like to host the Olympic Games because of the importance to the city and people. Also, at the same time we are very confident from our side. We believe that we can contribute to the Olympic Games, if we win the right to host them, in many ways.

Times are tough right now. Is it economically feasible for Tokyo to spend billions hosting the Olympic Games in this climate?

Of course the global economic crisis is having a big impact in many areas in many countries, but as far as our bid goes we don't have any concern because the financial status of the city of Tokyo is healthy, very big in size, very healthy budget-wise and the system itself is very healthy. As for the bid, the city of Tokyo has already set aside a special fund of 400 billion yen, or about $4 billion, so the bid is very secure in terms of finances.

Since Tokyo last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964, the world has changed quite a bit. Over the years, the Olympics have been targeted by terrorists, there have been regular scandals involving illegal drug use, underage athletes and biased judging. Do you still feel that the ideals and principles that the Olympic movement once stood for are still valid today?

I would say it's actually getting stronger because the Olympics itself, it seems to me that the Olympics are a living, surviving entity, not just stable, but growing. The Olympics have survived many things, such as the terrorist attack in Munich and also the financial crisis in Montreal, and the scandal in Salt Lake City. I would say the IOC and the Olympics are survivors from these kinds of issues, maybe not fully, but mostly they will have found solutions to these problems.

On the contrary, the doping issue has not been cleared up yet, but they have made great, great progress. The IOC was the driving force in creating the World Anti-Doping Agency with headquarters in Montreal. In that sense, the IOC is a living thing and coping with many issues, so the importance of the IOC is that they have very clear ideals and philosophies, and at the same time they are surviving and are very active in coping with many issues in modern areas. In that sense, the importance of the Olympic Games is getting bigger and stronger, I think.

As a doctor and as a man who's been involved in the anti-doping movement, do you think a day will come when doping will be completely eliminated from sports?

Unfortunately, I can't say that for sure, but we have made very big progress in this area in the last three to four years. As you may know, the IOC decided to introduce the world anti-doping code. It's the very first time to harmonize the code all over the world, of course in the Olympic sports and also some of the professional sports have agreed to accept the code. It's very big progress. Of course, there have been some arguments, but finally FIFA has accepted it and hockey --it's very big progress. I can give you some examples. Prior to the establishment of WADA, only two or three people were responsible for anti-doping in the IOC office. At present, in Montreal there are maybe 20 or 30 people working full time on anti-doping. At the same time, in many countries, in many areas--for example we have the Japan Anti-Doping Agency and in the United States they have USADA, and in the U.K. they have UK Sport and they will create an independent agency--in that sense, governments are already fully involved in this area. So, unfortunately, I cannot say that we can eliminate doping totally, but we have already made good progress and in the future we will make more progress.

On the issue of public support for the Olympics here, while people are constantly talking about events like the World Baseball Classic there still doesn't seem to be much buzz or media attention devoted to the Olympic bid. Does that worry you at all?

I don't have any worries about that because as you may know, the ratio of public support here is increasing. At present we have 70.2 percent public support and a recent poll ... said that we have 74 percent. Among younger ages, the support rate is 81 percent (according to a poll of third and fourth grade elementary school students conducted by Bandai last July). It's a very good thing for us that the younger generation is willing to host the Olympic Games.

Security is a big concern these days. You mentioned that visa requirements will be waived during the Games. Does this increase security concerns?

I don't think so because we have a lot of experience (in security issues). For example, we have been very successful in hosting FIFA's World Cup and also we were very successful hosting the G-8 summit in Hokkaido, so we have the evidence that we can handle security issues.

Your theme for the 2016 Games is peace and unity. How will Tokyo hosting the 2016 Olympic Games contribute to world peace?

The Olympic Games themselves are the games for peace. The original idea comes from stopping wars among cities. Fortunately, I believe that one of the countries that has had no wars for 50 or 60 years (is Japan), so it would be very fortunate to have a country of peace host the Games of peace. To make Tokyo 2016 successful is like contributing to the concept of peace itself.

If you win the bid, you will also be hosting the Paralympics. For a large, cosmopolitan city, Tokyo is quite inaccessible for disabled people, with many train and subway stations not having elevators or escalators. Do you have any plans to improve facilities for the disabled here ahead of the Games?

It is one of our aims to host the Paralympic Games. If we are successful in hosting the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games, most of the venues will be universal venues and also public transportation will be accessible, we are very confident about that. The venues we build and the transportation to and from them will all be accessible to the disabled.

Many of the proposed new facilities will be built on reclaimed land. There have been some issues with soil quality for the proposed new fish market. Has the soil been tested at the proposed Olympic sites?

I think everything is fine because the fish market issue is totally different from the Olympic bid, it's totally different from our situation. As a perception, the fish market is connected to the Olympic bid, but the reality is that the fish market issue is a different issue. As for the reclaimed land, we have evidence with Yumenoshima (an area encompassing Dream Island built on reclaimed landfill in Tokyo Bay) that we have already used for many years with no problems. Of course we will make sure (the soil is fine) if we can successfully win the bid to host the Olympic Games, but I have no concern about that.

Which of the three other bidding cities do you see as your main competitor and why?

The main competition is Tokyo. We must focus on ourselves.

What about the "Obama factor," with Chicago rolling out the newly elected U.S. president to help its cause?

Of course, Obama has a good effect for Chicago, I think, but I would say that one man cannot decide who hosts the Olympic Games.(IHT/Asahi: February 24,2009)


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5,000 Japanese support Tokyo 2016 on Rainbow Bridge Walk at the heart of the city


Tokyo, 2 March 2009 – More than five thousand Japanese people yesterday showed their commitment to Tokyo 2016’s ambition of setting the stage for heroes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the heart of Japan’s vibrant capital city by taking part in a Tokyo 2016 bridge walk. In excess of 20,000 people applied to take part in the event to support hosting the most compact Olympic Games ever in Tokyo.

The huge number of Tokyo 2016 supporters that took part in this historic event – many of whom travelled from across the country – donned their walking boots, scarves in the colour of the Olympic rings and gloves and strode across the colossal 4.2km Rainbow Bridge in central Tokyo. Whilst walking the participants looked out at the sites proposed for Tokyo 2016’s incredibly compact Olympic Games Plan such as the Main Stadium and the Olympic Village.

Beginning at 8.50 a.m. on Sunday 1 March, the Rainbow Walk took participants on a four-hour, 7km, 10,000 pace route that gave them an opportunity to take in the glittering attractions of Tokyo and its waterfront from one of the city’s most spectacular vantage points.

The route took competitors through the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone – both critical areas in Tokyo 2016’s unique plan to host the most compact, sustainable and athlete-friendly Olympic Games ever. Amongst the key Tokyo 2016 venues within the Tokyo Bay Zone are the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Village and IBC/MPC.

The event was the first time that the iconic Rainbow Bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic since its opening in August 1993 – a further demonstration of Tokyo 2016’s determination to deliver a Games that leaves an major environmental legacy and the commitment of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) to bringing the world’s greatest sports event to the dynamic capital.


Famous Olympians and Paralympians joined the Tokyo 2016 supporters and took part in the event, including:

• Atsuya Furuta, Seoul 1988 Baseball silver medallist and Tokyo 2016 Bid Ambassador

• Ai Fukuhara, member of the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Women’s Table Tennis team and Tokyo

2016 Athlete Ambassador

• Mami Sato, Paralympic Women’s Long Jumper who competed at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008

• Kentaro Asahi and Katsuhiro Shiratori, members of the Beijing 2008 Beach Volleyball team

• Kazutomo Miyamoto, Los Angeles 1984 Baseball gold medallist

The Tokyo Rainbow Walk, organised by the TMG and the Japan Walking Association, began at the Odaiba Marine Park – a Tokyo 2016 venue for Triathlon and Marathon Swimming. The route made a complete circuit of Rainbow Bridge before reaching its goal at Odaiba’s Shiokaze Park – the Tokyo 2016 Beach Volleyball venue.

Odaiba Marine Park and Shiokaze Park are two of the five parts of the Tokyo Bay Zone’s green necklace, which is located at the interface of the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone.

Dr Ichiro Kono, Chair and CEO of Tokyo 2016, said: “It is great to see the Japanese passion for Tokyo 2016 at this memorable event. Tokyo Rainbow Walk was a fantastic event that demonstrated the incredibly compact Venue Plan that Tokyo 2016 will offer the Olympic Movement. As we showed today you can literally walk between the venues in the Heritage Zone and Tokyo Bay Zone. This is just one aspect of our inspiring, financially-robust and fully sustainable plan that is setting the stage for heroes at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

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Only 5,000 in a megacity of some 18,000,000? :blink: That's just a drop in the bucket.


Maybe consider safety.

Recruit 5,000 people from the very beginning.


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Tokyo 2016 adds thirteenth sponsor

Toy manufacturer Bandai Co Ltd has become the thirteenth official partner of the Tokyo bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Tokyo-based Bandai Co joins existing sponsors Asics, Descente, Yahoo! JAPAN, TBC Group, Otsuka Corporation, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, East Japan Railway Company, AIU Insurance Company, Japan Travel Bureau, Kinki Nippon Tourist Co.,Ltd. and Yomiuri Shimbun.

Tokyo 2016 bid committee international communications manager Masa Takaya said, “The 13th new sponsor represents a perfect example of how much people and corporates in Japan love and are passionate about the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“By adding this major company as our bid partner despite the global economic downturn we will further accelerate our bid promotion nationally but also internationally.”


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  • 5 weeks later...
Tokyo ready for IOC inspection team

Saturday 11th April, 04:18 AM JST

TOKYO — Tokyo will showcase the support of its tens of thousands of its citizens when the International Olympic Committee’s inspection team visits next week to evaluate its bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

The citizens have been given bid badges to show their support and will take part in Tokyo 2016 sports events and festivals during the inspection team’s April 16-19 visit.

“Next week is the most important week of my life,” Tokyo 2016 chairman Ichiro Kono said Friday. “But it’s not just about me or the Tokyo 2016 bid committee; we are enjoying fantastic domestic support in Tokyo and across Japan for our bid.”

With 34 million people, Tokyo is the world’s largest metropolitan area, but organizers say their bid offers the most compact games, with almost all venues located less than eight kilometers from the main stadium.

Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, says 23 of its proposed 34 venues already exist and that land has been secured for the 11 new facilities.

Five of the new venues would be permanent, including the main Olympic stadium on the city’s central waterfront that would hold 100,000 spectators for track and field events and the opening and closing ceremonies.

Tokyo is also boasting the financial security of its bid amid the global economic downturn. The city of Tokyo has about a $66 billion annual budget and has already secured a $4 billion special budget in cash for the games.

The IOC will vote on the host city in Copenhagen on Oct 2. Tokyo is competing with Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro

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  • 1 month later...

Japanese comedian running, sailing around globe to attract Olympics

By TIM UNRUH, Salina Journal

NEW CAMBRIA -- Kanpei Hazama's garb Wednesday morning as he jogged along the highway included a gray wig and a Tokyo 2016 Olympic hat.

The comedian -- "just as famous in Japan as Saturday Night Live cast members in New York," according to his entourage -- is running through Kansas this week on a more than 22,000-mile run and sail around the globe, called the "Earth Marathon." The journey began Dec. 17 in Osaka, Japan, and will end somewhere in Japan during 2011.

He stopped a few miles east of New Cambria on Wednesday morning to perform and tell a few jokes in Japanese.

Hazama, 59, doesn't want money, but some attention would be nice as he runs about 35 miles a day for five days in a row, resting every sixth day.

Chosen as Japan's special ambassador for Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 Olympic games, Hazama seeks to reach Copenhagen, Denmark, by Oct. 2. The International Olympic Committee will announce the host city on that date.

Hazama's U.S. route goes through Chicago, which also is competing to host the OIympics in seven years.

"This is my dream. I like to stand out," Hazama said through an interpreter.

His traveling party includes men with cameras capturing video to post on YouTube and for a special television show to be broadcast when he returns home.

"He has interest in being on the Oprah show in Chicago," said Mugi Morijiri, from Los Angeles, who is traveling with Hazama and managing publicity.

Hazama is accompanied by a lead car, a car trailing and a bicyclist pedaling near him.

The U.S. portion of the journey began March 13 at Long Beach, Calif. Since that time, Hazama has gone through 12 pairs of New Balance shoes, which retail for more than $100 a pair. The shoe company is sponsoring the global run, along with Toyota and others.

Hazama has traveled to large U.S. cities before, among them New York, Los Angeles and Miami, "but never to small cities like Salina," Hazama said, where "the people are so friendly. Sometimes we hear ... of America as a scary place. It's nothing like that."

Many Japanese American fans have come to cheer Hazama, and some have provided him food and drinks.

"These fans know he likes beer," Morijiri said. "We don't buy beer."

The trip through the States has required some adjustments, Hazama said. He still prefers the "more healthy" Japanese food.

"American food makes me fart," Hazama said, and depending on wind directions, it's sometimes not pleasant for his followers.

n Reporter Tim Unruh can be reached at 822-1419 or by e-mail at tunruh@salina.com.

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The big older Pontiac sped along eating up mile upon mile of highway. The driver slouched indolently behind the wheel, his left elbow resting comfortably on the car window fingers steadying the wheel but not gripping it, tapping in time to the classic rock on the radio. His right hand gripped the wheel at almost the top, but even that grip was relaxed, almost lazy. His rich hazel eyes were hidden behind aviator style sunglasses. He had a strong chin with a neatly trimmed goatee which matched his equally neatly trimmed short black hair.

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The highway he was on stretched the length of the country, The Trans-Canada Highway, and he was driving west from the prairies towards the West Coast. The Rocky Mountains stretched before him, running north to south, like an impenetrable barrier. But Evan Kirby knew better; the highway found its winding way through mountain passes across the continental divide over several ranges ending in the Pacific Coastal Range and the sea. There by the sea, on the great Fraser River Delta which two million or more souls called Home, lay Vancouver: a port city, a crossroads of the world. But the draw there for Evan was the rich and bountiful entertainment industry. Evan Kirby was a guitar player. He had played with an assortment of bands in prairie towns and cities but, drawn to classic rock and the new innovative sounds coming out of some of the west coast studios, had decided to try his luck in Vancouver. After all, he had reasoned, the weather's warmer there too.

The car was a cluttered mess and a Marshall amplifier took up more than half of the back seat. Some fast food bags and beverage cups littered the floor. On the seat beside him was a Calgary newspaper, a copy of Guitarplayer Magazine and a couple of CD's. As the car cruised further into the mountains the Calgary radio station he had been listening to started to crackle and break up. Evan steadied the wheel with a couple of fingers only and loaded a CD into the player. The car was filled with the sound of Led Zepplin as he cruised through the Banff National Park Gates.

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Just west of the Banff townsite there were a couple of hitchhikers along the road. The first two were a grubby looking pair of men which Evan barely looked at. But his eyes were drawn to the slim girlish figure standing alone clutching a small pack to her side almost as though it were a teddy bear. The wind was blowing her long straight blonde hair wildly from beneath her hat, a crocheted close-fitting soft turquoise cap. She wore a pair of flared, faded and somewhat tattered blue jeans and a shirt that was a tight fitting long sleeved soft knit fabric in a darker turquoise than her hat with a dragon boldly painted across the front. Evan whistled under his breath as he pulled over to pick her up. 'Geez, she's just a kid.' he thought, 'They just get younger.'

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