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Hatoyama To Go To Copenhagen To Bolster Tokyo 2016 Olympic Bid

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Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will go to Copenhagen this week to boost Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said at a press conference today.

The International Olympic Committee meets on Oct. 2 to select the host for the games from four finalists: Tokyo, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid. Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Spain’s King Juan Carlos will attend the vote, while President Barack Obama hasn’t decided whether to attend, a senior adviser said last week. First Lady Michelle Obama will attend to win support for Chicago.

Securing the games may mean billions of dollars in construction, tourism, sponsorships and advertising as well as prestige for the winning city. Tokyo’s bid is the centerpiece of a 10-year urban renewal plan designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a model for metropolises in the 21st century, according to the bid document.

“Tokyo is presenting an original plan to reduce the burden on our environment,” Hirano told reporters in Tokyo today. “Even though it’s a busy time with the inauguration of the new administration, the prime minister decided to go to the IOC.”

Hatoyama, who took office on Sept. 16, will leave Japan on Oct. 1 and return the day after the Olympic vote, Hirano said.

‘Green Zone’

Tokyo’s plan includes a “green zone” on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, the main site for the games, linked to the center of the city using tree-lined avenues. The design would result in sea breezes, lowering temperatures and reducing the need for air conditioning, according to the Tokyo government.

The bid also emphasizes a compact event with 97 percent of the venues within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of the main stadium and 70 percent within 10 minutes of the Olympic Village. The Tokyo and national governments have set aside $4 billion for the games, enough to finance the building costs of venues and infrastructure, according to the bid document.

“Almost all the IOC members trust our plan, they believe we’ll be on time and on budget, it’s a Japanese promise,” Ichiro Kono, chairman of the Japan Olympic Bid Committee, said at a press conference on Sept. 18. “IOC members know that when Japanese promise it, surely they will deliver it.”

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