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Sir Rols

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Tokyo 2020: Fine tuning the bid with new top level international technical experts

July 10 – The Tokyo 2020 campaign to host the summer Games has just added a number of high level international technical experts that have come onboard to fine tune the Japanese bid.

Masato Mizuno, bid CEO, said, "We are delighted to have first-class international support on the Tokyo team and simply passionate about building the best possible plan to stage a well-organised Games for the world's athletes.

“Building on the lessons learned in our previous bid, we are focused on delivering a clear, compelling Candidature File showing how the world's most forward-thinking city will stage Games of excellence and excitement, all for the benefit of sport."

Australian Simon Balderstone, head of Ways and Means Consultancy, will be lending advice in the areas of communications, sport and the environment. Balderstone was a General Manager of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Organising Committee, and also served as an advisor to the 2004 and 2008 Games IOC Coordination Commissions. He also has been an International Olympic Committee (IOC) advisor and member of the IOC Evaluation Commissions for the 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 Olympic Games.

Diane Bernstein, of Diane Bernstein Design (DBD),will bring her expertise in the areas of Olympic Games concept and venue design expertise, advising on sports venues, Olympic Village and the Main Media Centre. Her experience includes both design and operational projects for the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and she formerly worked with the previous Paris 2012 and Tokyo 2016 bid campaigns.

Etienne Thobois, Edouard Donnelly and Franck Ladouce from the Parisian company Keneo, have experience organizing and managing big international sporting events. With experience from the Paris 2012 Olympic Games and French UEFA Euro 2016 bids they will bring expertise in the areas of Sports, Finance, Marketing, Technology, Media operations, Paralympics, Medical, Legal and customs and immigration. Thobois is a badminton Olympian and former IOC advisor and served as a member of the IOC 2016 evaluation commission.

CEO Neil Fergus and senior managers David Gray and Bob Costello of Intelligent Risks (IR) will focus on security and operational areas with their experience from working on numerous Olympic Games, including the highly successful Sydney 2000 Olympics. Intelligent Risks will oversee the security guarantees for Tokyo 2020 to host a safe, well-organised Olympic Games.

Fergus served as a Senior Adviser to the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games as well as an Adviser for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Bid. Also Gray worked indepth with the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games and Costello worked closely with the Athens 2004 Games, the Beijing 2008 Games and the Tokyo 2016 Games Bid.

The head of transport for the Athens 2004 Organising Committee, Panos Protopsaltis, was also behind the Rio 2016 transport plan. He also worked with the Paris 2012 and Annecy 2018 bids and is a former IOC expert as well. As well as being a former IOC expert he holds the IOC Olympic Order and also worked with for Torino 2006, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Organising Committees.

He’ll be advising Tokyo 2020 as an international transport consultant targeting the extensive urban railway and road system to facilitate access.

Tokyo 2012 announced at the end of May the new team of international experts which included Seven46 founded by Nick Varley is developing key messages and presentations, Weber Shandwick's Svetlana Picou is assisting with strategic communications and PR.

The team includes former Secretary General of the International Olympic Committee and Director of the Olympic Museum Françoise Zweifel, JAPPO founder and President Diamil Faye will be focusing on Africa, and Young-Sook Lee brings knowledge from working with the Korean Olympic Committee and the PyeongChang 2018 bid.


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Wow... they have 2/3 of the Annecy 2018 experts... Diane Bernstein, Neil Fergus, Panos Protopsaltis & Françoise Zweifel !!!

And part of the main Paris 2012 ones... Diane Bernstein, Etienne Thobois, Edouard Donelly, Franck Ladouce & Svetlana Picou ...

Is that a really a winning team ?

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Wow... they have 2/3 of the Annecy 2018 experts... Diane Bernstein, Neil Fergus, Panos Protopsaltis & Françoise Zweifel !!!

And part of the main Paris 2012 ones... Diane Bernstein, Etienne Thobois, Edouard Donelly, Franck Ladouce & Svetlana Picou ...

Is that a really a winning team ?

Perhaps they've learned the hard way.

To me, the big deal is Balderstone.

Australian Simon Balderstone, head of Ways and Means Consultancy, will be lending advice in the areas of communications, sport and the environment. Balderstone was a General Manager of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Organising Committee, and also served as an advisor to the 2004 and 2008 Games IOC Coordination Commissions. He also has been an International Olympic Committee (IOC) advisor and member of the IOC Evaluation Commissions for the 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 Olympic Games.

Check out that resumé. Look at all those Evaluation Commissions. He's got the inside track and his insight should be invaluable.

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Wow... they have 2/3 of the Annecy 2018 experts... Diane Bernstein, Neil Fergus, Panos Protopsaltis & Françoise Zweifel !!!

And part of the main Paris 2012 ones... Diane Bernstein, Etienne Thobois, Edouard Donelly, Franck Ladouce & Svetlana Picou ...

Is that a really a winning team ?


Balderstone's resume could also be bolderdash. Seems a bit inflated to me.

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Balderstone's resume could also be bolderdash. Seems a bit inflated to me.

Why lie? It's all a matter of record. No point in saying you were on an Evaluation Commission (or advising it) if you weren't. The IOC knows what he did and didn't do and they're the ones voting. There's a reason Tokyo listed him first. I expect him to be a big asset to them.

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Mizuno confident Tokyo has what it takes to host 2020 Olympic Games


As the CEO of the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee, Mizuno is an enthusiastic, optimistic leader. Furthermore, the 69-year-old's life has been enriched by continuous exposure to sports.

Mizuno, whose grandfather established Miuzuno Corp. in 1906, vividly recalled attending the 1964 Tokyo Games, during his sophomore year of college, and reminisced about that unforgettable experience during a recent Foreign Sportswriters Association of Japan meeting.

"Working in sports, living near Osaka, we took the shinkansen to come to Tokyo and I was there at the Opening Ceremony," he said. "Blue skies with the Olympic rings. I never forget. . ."

As Japan's economic recovery ascended quickly after World War II, the 1964 Olympics were a powerful symbol of the nation's rebirth.

Mizuno believed that the 1964 Summer Games gave Japan "so much hope and the dream for the future."

Once again, that's the goal.

"The times have changed, but we would like to give enthusiasm and dreams and hope again to all Japanese people; especially after the earthquake, people are facing some difficulties," he said.

Between now and Sept. 7, 2013, when the 125th IOC Session is held in Buenos Aires to select the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, Tokyo 2020 will be broken down into five primary tasks, facets of the bid that are things to enhance along the way, according to Mizuno.

■ A good plan

Of course, that's an oversimplified explanation. But the plan, Mizuno pointed out, is an upgrade from Tokyo's failed 2016 bid.

"We lost, so we gained experience," Mizuno said, reflecting on the previous bid, which was awarded to Rio de Janeiro. "So we kept the best and improved the rest."

Such as?

"We are going to build a new stadium at the same place as the last time in 1964 at Kokuritsu Kasumigaoka (National Olympic Stadium in Shinjuku)," he noted.

"(In addition), the new Olympic Village will be in the center of the circular area of the Olympic Games."

(The 2016 Tokyo bid had submitted a plan to have a new national stadium on Tokyo Bay in Ariake section of Koto Ward.)

A compact games is a big selling point, he said, with 29 of 31 Olympic primary venues within a radius of 8 km.

■ Increasing public support

A recent IOC survey put Tokyo-area support for the 2020 Games at 47 percent. Mizuno and committee members recognize that figure is too low. (According to the IOC, Istanbul's support is at 73 percent, while Madrid's stands at 78.)

"This is really a critical number, the figure . . . so we really work hard to raise this public support again," Mizuno said.

"Forty-seven percent support (the bid), but 30 percent are in between (undecided)," he added, "so now we are trying to get more support from those 30 percent. We have some confidence if we really work hard the support will go up."

Japan hauled in 25 medals at the 2008 Beijing Games. Bid committee officials believe that replicating that feat — or producing similar results — would go a long way in raising enthusiasm for Tokyo's 2020 bid.

Or as a smiling Mizuno told reporters, "In the London Games, we must have many medals and then we ask all the athletes to help us (promote the Tokyo bid)."

Utilizing social media — primarily Twitter and Facebook — is a new tool for Tokyo 2020 to promote its bid while also capitalizing on as much TV air time (a 20-second segment here, 30 seconds there, for instance) as possible.

■ Preparation for the evaluation commission

The IOC's evaluation visits of candidate cities are planned for next February to April. Before that, detailed plans — the three cities' candidature files — must be submitted to the IOC by Jan. 7.

■ The presentation

This will included a technical briefing before the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, as well as at the SportAccord Convention next May in St. Petersburg, Russia.

And the final presentation, akin to a major academic examination, will follow this order: Istanbul, Tokyo, Madrid.

Each city will have 40 minutes for its presentation, followed by 20 minutes for questions and answers.

For South Korea, glamorous figure skater Kim Yu Na emerged as the winning 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic bid's ideal spokesperson. Her graceful, charming personality wooed IOC voters.

Mizuno hopes Tokyo can emulate what the Olympic gold medalist accomplished.

"We need someone like Kim Yu Na, for sure," he said, admitting star power is a key element for a successful bid.

"Hopefully some new heroine from London (emerges)," he added, suggesting a cute gymnast would be ideal.

■ Lobbying.

To convince IOC members to vote for Tokyo, Mizuno is convinced Tokyo's selling points are follows:

"The total games will be excellence and excitement, that's the spectacle celebration of the heart of the city. It's wonderful. We would like to make a really wonderful games."

He spoke passionately about Tokyo's dynamic, vibrant economy and the rich cultural heritage of the 12.5-million population capital city and metropolitan area that's home to 35 million.

By staging the games in Tokyo, the plan in place would create an "athletes-first Olympic Games," Mizuno declared.

That's the selling point of the compact games.

"Who is the one who makes the Olympic Games?" he asked rhetorically. "Not the officials, athletes."

Under the proposed plan, all venues would be within 20 minutes from the Olympic Village, not counting shooting, modern pentathlon and soccer (Sapporo Dome, Miyagi Stadium, Saitama Stadium and International Stadium Yokohama).

Compared to Japan's last Summer Olympics bid — Nagoya and Osaka have also attempted to do so in the past — Tokyo 2020 is relying on a smaller crop of consultants and public relations staff to deliver its message domestically and internationally.

In an official statement, Tsunekazu Takeda, the Japanese Olympic Committee president said, "With government backing at all levels, the support of the national sport federations, and the enthusiastic participation of the business community and general public, we have come together as a cohesive team. This spirited cooperation shows Japan's passion for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Tokyo 2020 Games will embody the values of excellence, friendship and respect that the Olympic movement and the people of Japan share."

* * *

Tokyo 2020 has earmarked around $75 million for the proposed budget, or roughly half of its planned expenditures for the 2016 Games.

Spending wisely and not trying to appear too flashy are goals of Tokyo 2020, Mizuno admitted while confirming the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has $4.5 billion in reserve funds that cannot be spent for the bid.

Instead, a private-public joint venture is under way, with the TMG providing half of the money and the bid committee securing the rest of the money from non-metro government sources.

"It's not easy but we'll try our best to raise the funds," Mizuno said, commenting on the ongoing fundraising efforts.

Of the 38 venues proposed for use in the 2020 Olympics, 27 already exist; and the Olympic Village would later be transformed into available housing for the general public.

Financial logistics aside, will sympathy for Japan in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 and the ongoing Fukushima nuclear plant crisis, be factors in IOC members' voting?

Will it persuade them to chose Tokyo?

Or have the opposite effect?

"I believe that, sure, some of the people are very supportive and helpful for the recovery of Japan," Mizuno said. "But at the same time, people know that the games will be hosted in 2020, which is eight years after.

"Tokyo Gov. (Shintaro) Ishihara mentioned that we would like to show how we recover from this tragedy. 2020 is eight years later. I think most of the IOC members think about the future (and) Tokyo will be no problem. . ."

Beyond that, Mizuno said, the Olympics can be a catalyst for positive change here.

"We promote the Olympic values, Olympism — excellence, friendship and respect," he said. "Especially we are saying, 2020 is not the goal for us, but beyond 2020 we can make a wonderful society. So we would like to demonstrate the power of sports. We believe in the power of sports."


Mizuno has met dozens of sports and high-profile luminaries over the years, traveling to Olympic Games and attending IOC functions. Russian President Vladimir Putin stands out as a particularly impressive figure in his mind for the way he captured an audience's attention.

"He (Putin) presented wonderfully in Guatemala at the IOC session," Mizuno remembered of the July 2007 meeting in Latin America. "He made all the speech in English, including some in French, too, so that was very impressive. That's one of the reason why Sochi got the 2014 Winter Games."

A charismatic figure in his own right, Putin has motivated Mizuno to play a bigger role within the Japanese Olympic Committee.

Mizuno revealed he felt sadness after Tokyo lost the vote for the 2016 Summer Games during an IOC meeting in Copenhagen, on Oct. 2, 2009. That now serves as his — and Tokyo 2020's — driving force for what lies ahead in the next 14 months, capped by the fate-making decision on Sept. 7, 2013.

"We must win the bid. That's the motivation of my decision (to retire from Mizuno and lead Tokyo 2020)," were his final comments to reporters during the FSAJ meeting.


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Good story. I have to raise an eyebrow at thinking a cute female gymnast would be the ideal spokeswoman. In addition to sounding somewhat sexist and calculating, Mizuno should consider that Japan doesn't really have any medal contending female gymnasts. Kohei Uchimura has the pedigree. Don't know anything about his personality though.

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They should go more for a Toby Dawson. For me, he sold the PyongChang presentation package more than the boring Yuna Kim. Dawson + that Teresa gal who was quite impressive too.

Well, Tokyo could get the brother-&-sister ice-dance team, the Reeds...altho they are Winter athletes; and American citizens originally.

Have never seen Seb Coe's 2005 appearance nor (am I interested to see) Putin's Guatemala show; but from all the presentations I have seen so far, the Qatari shiekha, the Crown Prince, Toby Dawson-and-PC's Teresa spokeswoman, have impressed me the most.

But at this stage, I'd like Madrid to get the Games...NOT boring Tokyo.

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they talked about dreams and hopes while the support is less than 50% ??? if this their plan they should ask their people first like this '' Do You Hope For Olympics ? ''

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Tokyo 2020 Games would generate $37 billion-bid chief

(Reuters) - 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 Sept. 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.


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Island disputes could cost Tokyo 2020 Olympics

With the vote to determine the host of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games less than one year away, Tokyo's chances of landing the global extravaganza could slip away in the wake of Japan's ongoing involvement in island disputes with South Korea, China, Russia and Taiwan.

Tokyo is vying with Istanbul and Madrid to host the Olympics, and the winner may well be determined by just a handful of votes.

A historical examination of voting by the International Olympic Committee on the awarding of the games shows that in many instances the host city was determined by five votes or fewer.

London triumphed over Paris by just four votes (54-50) in the contest to host the 2012 Summer Games, while Sochi, Russia, topped Pyeongchang, South Korea, by the same margin (51-47) to win the election for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

When Sydney edged out Beijing in the race for the 2000 Summer Games, it was by just two votes (45-43). There was even an instance where a single vote determined the winner, when Melbourne, Australia, beat Buenos Aires 21-20 for the chance to stage the 1956 Summer Games.

It is an old cliche to say that "every vote counts," but in determining Olympic hosts that is exactly the case and the stakes could not be higher.

It is under this backdrop that the ongoing fiery rhetoric with other countries in the region could jeopardize Tokyo's bid to host the Olympics for the first time since 1964. The vote to determine the site for the 2020 Olympics will be held in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7, 2013.

Japan has unsuccessfully bid for the Summer Games three times in the past three decades: Nagoya lost to Seoul (52-27) for the 1988 Games; Osaka went out on the first ballot when Beijing landed the 2008 Games; and Tokyo was eliminated on the second ballot as Rio de Janeiro clinched the 2016 Games.

The 2020 Summer Games would bring a projected ¥3 trillion (approximately $37.9 billion) to Japan, including ¥1.67 trillion ($2.1 billion) to the Tokyo metropolitan region, the Tokyo 2020 bid committee claims. Citing its own research, the bid organizers forecast it would create 150,000 jobs in Japan.

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, who was the face of the capital's failed bid to host the 2016 Games, is at the forefront of the dispute over the Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan. Several times in years past he has infuriated people with his comments on other countries and cultures.

During a news conference on Friday, exactly a year before the 2020 bid voting will take place, Ishihara was questioned about whether the problems with regional neighbors could result in Tokyo losing the election.

"I don't have much (concern)," Ishihara told reporters.

Ishihara then attempted to change the subject, lashing out at Taiwan's IOC member, Wu Ching-kuo. Wu, 65, has been an IOC member since 1988.

"He clearly is anti-Japanese," Ishihara said of Wu. "He said, 'Don't talk about Senkaku at the London Olympics. (Otherwise) you are going to have China against yourselves.' It's not something for Taiwan to butt in. I think he certainly won't be voting (for Japan). I think it's ironic such a person is the delegate of Taiwan."

This is a perfect example of why the 2020 bid organizers have made former Mizuno Corp. chairman Masato Mizuno the face of Tokyo's effort this time and sought to push Ishihara to the side.

Ishihara's long history of offending others may not bother those in his own constituency, but it does not play well outside Japan.

Mizuno, heir to the sporting goods conglomerate and highly respected for his many years of involvement in the Olympic community, can't be too pleased by the continuing escalation of regional tensions and how it might affect the Tokyo bid. He did not reply to multiple requests for comment on this story.

Best-selling author and social critic Robert Whiting, an expert on Japan, believes Gov. Ishihara has damaged the image of the metropolis as a modern and progressive city through his words and actions.

He says Friday's press conference was a case in point.

"You can always count on Ishihara to offend someone," Whiting told The Japan Times. "And at this latest press conference, he did not disappoint.

"Ishihara's mouth is a big problem," Whiting added. "Referring to the Chinese and Korean in Japan as 'Sangokujin' is just one example.

"His controversial remarks about the Japanese occupation of Korea ('it was justified'), the rape of Nanking ('a myth') and the French language ('a language in which nobody can count') may make some people wonder how friendly Tokyoites really are to foreigners, if they keep re-electing someone like Ishihara as Tokyo governor by overwhelming margins.

"Thankfully, he is not the prime minister of Japan."

Concerning the 2020 Olympic bid, Whiting said IOC members will need to ask themselves two questions regarding Ishihara:

— "Do they really agree with his anti-foreign sentiments?"

— "If so, why should Tokyo be awarded the Olympics?"

The Takeshima Islands, located nearly equidistant from Japan and South Korea, have also triggered an intense row between the nations. South Korea administers the islands, called Dokdo in Korean. North Korea also claims territorial rights to the islands.

The dispute with Moscow centers on the Northern Territories, referred to as the Kuril Islands by Russia.

With Spain's economy in crisis and Turkey's proximity to Syria, which is currently in the throes of a civil war, it would appear that on the surface Japan has the upper hand in voting for the 2020 Games. It comes across as the safest choice in the short term with regards to infrastructure and financial muscle.

But on Friday, the same day as Ishihara's press conference, AFP cited a source close to the IOC as saying that with Madrid not a viable option for economic reasons, the choice between Tokyo and Istanbul could go either way.

"Tokyo would still be ahead as there are no worries about their ability to complete the work required on time and with the financing of the games," said the source in the AFP story.

"Plus there are many IOC members who are swayed by voting for them because they see it as a way of helping the process of rebuilding the Japanese people's morale and giving them something to look forward to and a goal to achieve (following the March 11 disaster).

"Istanbul on the other hand has steadily built up momentum. It has somehow managed to ride out the storm over also bidding to host the Euro 2020 (soccer) championship (under IOC rules no country can host another major championship in the same year), and has serious appeal."

Investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, author of the best-selling 1992 book "Lords of the Rings" about widespread corruption within the IOC, notes that there are other factors at work that could influence the vote for the 2020 Games.

"It's so hard to call these IOC contests," Jennings wrote in an email to The Japan Times. "So it's too simplistic to state that these regional political differences might cost Japan IOC votes. All but Russia of the countries named are members of the Olympic Council of Asia.

"There will be an expectation that if Japan wins there will be 'jobs for the boys' throughout the region. This factor might outweigh specific differences."

Jennings also wonders whether corruption has been entirely eliminated from the IOC voting process.

"You must ask if bribes for votes is really extinct at the IOC. Certainly many of the crooks were thrown out in 1999," he told The Japan Times. "But all?"

Presently, there are 109 IOC members, 32 honorary members and one honor member.

China and Russia both have three IOC members. South Korea has two. Hong Kong and Taiwan have one each. All possess clout with powerful forces in government and business in their respective countries.

Japan's IOC member (Japan Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda) can't vote in the election for the 2020 host, nor can Turkey or Spain's IOC members.

China could be the key player in the outcome of the 2020 Olympic vote, as the nation with the world's second-largest economy has far-reaching ties in commerce with those around the globe. If it pressures those in other parts of the world (particularly Europe and Africa) to vote against Japan, that could tip the election in favor of Istanbul.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government's planned purchase of three of the five uninhabited Senkaku Islands, also claimed by China and Taiwan, in the East China Sea for ¥2 billion, has provoked anger in Beijing.

Japan's central government announced Friday that it has agreed to buy the islands. The Chinese government has blasted Japan for its planned purchase, calling it illegal and invalid.

In the final analysis, the saber-rattling by Japan could prove costly in its attempt to bring the world's most lucrative sporting event back to the capital for the first time in 56 years.

Japan Times

More than the island dispute, sounds like Ishihara is still a bit of an unpredictable wild card in this campaign.

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Taiwanese IOC member assures Tokyo over vote

Relations between Japan, China and Taiwan have spiraled out of control over the past week, but a longtime Taiwanese International Olympic Committee member is not using that as a pretext for his vote for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

He has, however, admitted that Japan's island disputes could negatively impact Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Games, which was the premise of a hard-hitting analysis by this newspaper last week that made a major splash in Olympic circles spanning the globe.

Widespread protests, vandalism, damaged businesses, flag-burning, anger and anti-Japanese rhetoric heated up in both neighboring nations over the past several days after Japan announced it had nationalized three of the five uninhabited Senkaku Islands, a plan fervently opposed by China and Taiwan, both of which claim territorial rights to the islands.

This came after Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara aggressively pushed for the purchase in recent months, but IOC executive board member Wu Ching-kuo insists he will keep an open mind about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid, The Japan Times has learned.

In an email, a copy of which this newspaper obtained on Wednesday, Wu declared he won't get involved in a tit-for-tat with Ishihara, choosing instead to address the matter diplomatically to Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda — an IOC member — and also to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid Committee CEO and JOC Vice President Masato Mizuno.In his email to Takeda and Mizuno last week, Wu wrote, "I have read the news article in The Japan Times on Gov. Ishihara's comments on my position with regard to the Tokyo's 2020 Olympic bid."

The 66-year-old Wu reminded Takeda and Mizuno that their long-standing association as part of the global Olympic community — the Nanjing, China-born Wu has been an IOC member since 1988 — should be the foundation of their professional relationship rather than a stumbling block. He urged them to remember that.

"You have known me for quite a long time and from day one of my IOC membership, I have known exactly how the Olympic ideals and principles should be honored totally separately from any political issue," Wu wrote. "Therefore, I would like to let you know that I am more than 100 percent neutral and will encourage you continuously to pursue your excellent preparations for the bid.

"Like all other IOC members, I would maintain a position to respect every effort and time dedicated by your bidding team and will make my final decision truly based on the values of your bid."

When he was asked by Japan Times staff writer Mizuho Aoki if ongoing territorial disputes in the region could be a problematic factor for Japan in its bid to host the 2020 Olympics, Ishihara verbally lashed out at Wu during a Sept. 7 news conference, exactly one year away from the IOC's vote in Buenos Aires to determine which city will be awarded the 2020 Summer Games. Tokyo is competing against Istanbul and Madrid.

"He clearly is anti-Japanese," Ishihara said of Wu. "He said, 'Don't talk about Senkaku at the London Olympics. (Otherwise) you are going to have China against yourselves.' It's not something for Taiwan to butt in. I think he certainly won't be voting (for Japan). I think it's ironic such a person is the delegate of Taiwan."

Despite The Japan Times' repeated attempts to reach Wu for comment about Ishihara's words, he declined to do so, said Sebastien Gillot, public relations and communication director for the International Amateur Boxing Association, of which Wu is the president. Wu was, however, cited on the Focus Taiwan News Channel website as saying that Japan's territorial disputes may harm the Tokyo 2020 bid. In a paraphrased statement, Wu said Tuesday that Japan's Senkaku Islands purchase, from a private Japanese owner, is the antithesis of the Olympic spirit of peace.

The Senkaku Islands are called Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan.


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I think Japan should ask the Philippines and Vietnam to make more noise about their own Spratley Islands' dispute with China. So it shows that big China is in constant bickering with its smaller, off-shore neighbors...making China a big bully. That should neutralize any bad vibes for Tokyo's bid re those 5 tiny islands.

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Nice article. But I think that it doesn't calculate the aspect of how many members could/would vote on their own NOC's interests in terms of future bids, & where they would actually like to see future Games. Not to mention that the ballots R secret anyway, so people can say that they'll vote this way or that way, but they'll never really know if they actually did vote that way.

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Japan had issues with almost every asian country. Although that ended long time ago, some countries like Korea and Philipines (specially the former one) are still bitter against them for being colonized (I remember this brought fears at first when the 2002 WC was hosted in both Korea in Japan.. Luckily everything went out without much drama)

I've been following the events about the Daiyou Island dispute and things in China have gone batshit insane. Thousands of people have looted many japanese locals and even lynched and crippled one guy for daring to drive a japanese car.

I fear China will not vote in favor of Tokyo. I kinda remember when they choose Nagano instead of Tokyo as the japanese city to receive the flame. I'm not sure if it was to pick different cities from Athens or if it was a way to tell them they didnt supported Tokyo 2016 bid.

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