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Japan Pm To Pitch For Tokyo 2016 At Copenhagen


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Japan PM to pitch for Tokyo 2016 Olympics

By Shigemi Sato (AFP) – 20 hours ago

TOKYO — Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will push Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 Summer Games at an International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Copenhagen this week, his spokesman said on Monday.

In the Danish capital on Friday, some 100 IOC members will vote to choose the host from among Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, with none of the cities seen as a clear favourite so far.

The Japanese capital plans to host what it calls the most compact, ecologically friendly and athletes-focused Olympics yet.

"Although it is a hectic time at the start of his government, the prime minister will make a final appeal to IOC members in an all-out effort to bring us the Olympics," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano.

High-powered lobbying by government leaders and royals was seen as a major factor in swaying the IOC as it selected recent Olympic hosts -- London for the 2012 Summer Games and Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Games.

Hatoyama, who took office two weeks ago, believes the IOC meeting would be a good opportunity to push his drive for drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, his top government spokesman told a news conference.

"Tokyo has presented a unique concept to reduce the burden on the environment," the spokesman said.

The new premier has surprised the world with a bold pledge to cut Japan's carbon emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. He renewed the promise before the UN General Assembly in New York last week.

Tokyo says it plans to cut carbon emissions by an amount greater than the emissions that would be generated by Games-related construction, transport and operations, and boost the use of renewable energy sources and electric cars.

The Tokyo Olympic bid committee had requested Hatoyama's presence in Copenhagen since his centre-left Democratic Party of Japan won an August 30 election and ended more than half a century of conservative rule.

The committee has also asked Crown Prince Naruhito to come, but the Imperial Household Agency has given no public reply and the prince already has another event scheduled for the same day.

King Juan Carlos of Spain and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are due to go to Copenhagen, while US President Barack Obama is sending his wife, Michelle, to lobby IOC members.

In 2005, then British prime minister Tony Blair's final appeal was seen as crucial in winning London the 2012 Summer Games against favourite Paris.

Vladimir Putin, as Russian president in 2007, helped Sochi's winning bid for the 2014 Winter edition.

Separate from its green Games plan, Tokyo has already been enforcing carbon emissions cuts, planting trees, covering school yards with lawn and taking other steps in a 10-year programme toward 2016.

Tokyo's governor Shintaro Ishihara welcomed Hatoyama's trip to Copenhagen, calling it a "great driving force to bring about a Tokyo Games which places the utmost emphasis on the environment".

"We will go to win the bid by taking this good news as an additional tailwind," he told Japanese media in Copenhagen.

It was unclear how much weight the "green Games" pitch would carry.

Tokyo's ecology-related scheme was described by an IOC commission, evaluating the four cities' bids, as a "major challenge to properly measure and achieve".

One member of the commission reportedly told Tokyo's bid leaders: "We are not the United Nations."

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