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JOC to probe floundering Hiroshima bid

Tuesday, March 30, 2010; 2:37 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) plans to grill Hiroshima's mayor this week to determine how serious he is about the city's 2020 Games bid.

Leading JOC officials will travel to Hiroshima on Friday to seek assurances from mayor Tadatoshi Akiba after the city council voted to axe the bid's draft budget, the JOC's Olympic cooperation director Yasuhiro Nakamori told Reuters on Tuesday.

"(JOC) secretary general (Noriyuki) Ichihara will hold a meeting with the mayor in Hiroshima on Friday," Nakamori said in a phone interview.

"We will check the details of Hiroshima's bid plan and of course the financial aspect, which is very important if they want to host the Olympics.

"I think we have to know if the mayor is serious about realising this plan or if the reason he is conducting this bid activity is really some political performance."

Last week's vote by Hiroshima's assembly paves the way for Tokyo to again become Japan's bid city after Nagasaki abandoned its 2020 ambitions in January.

The motion to reject Hiroshima's Olympic draft budget was submitted by conservative factions on the grounds of costs and citing a lack of local public support.

WASTE MONEY

"We do not want Hiroshima to waste taxpayers' money," Nakamori said. "People are concerned about spending cuts to accommodate the Olympics.

"We want to make sure they are financially sound. Friday's meeting is very important."

Ichihara and Akiba are scheduled to hold a news conference following their meeting on Friday.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only cities to have suffered atomic attacks, had initially planned a joint bid to demonstrate their commitment to nuclear disarmament.

Nakamori insisted the JOC would want 1994 Asian Games host Hiroshima involved in bidding for the 2020 Olympics even if it dropped out of the race with Tokyo.

"There should be a plan to have Hiroshima's continued cooperation," he said. "For example, the torch relay should go through Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a symbol of peace."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/30/AR2010033000104.html

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How is 12 years too soon. Asia is the largest population base, the largest market, where most of the new sponsors are from, and has more potential hosts than other places. Asia deserves the Olympics

Tokyo 2020 Games bid to become official soon The Tokyo metropolitan government has decided to bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, and an official announcement is likely later this month, according

Consultants strategy meeting in Istanbul

Hiroshima reinstates most budgets for Olympic bid

HIROSHIMA, March 31 (AP) - (Kyodo)—The Hiroshima City Assembly on Wednesday approved a motion to reinstate most of the budgets sought by the city government for fiscal 2010 for its bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics after voting down the request last week.

The approval came at a special assembly session convened by Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba to salvage his initiative to stage an Olympics dedicated to global nuclear disarmament in the city, which was devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb in World War II.

The city office had initially sought 25.69 million yen, including 1 million yen to formulate the basic bid plan, as part of its budget bill for the year starting Thursday, but the budgets endorsed by a relatively narrow majority on Wednesday exclude the 1 million yen.

Akiba, who invoked his right under the Local Autonomy Act to ask for the assembly to reconsider its decision after its regular session ended last Friday, said after the day's session that despite the reduced budgets, he will not seek another revote.

"Our basic ideas have been understood," Akiba told a press conference. "We will try to come up with results that convince everyone by listening to various opinions humbly."

At the outset of the session, the assembly held a revote and voted down the motion to omit the 25.69 million yen from the city's fiscal 2010 budget bill, which it passed Friday. It then voted on two other motions -- one to slash most of the proposed sum, which was rejected, and the one that was

endorsed.

http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=493409

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I think the IOC will take any Japanese bid seriously. I agree that Osaka is no. 2 and Hiroshima is further down on the totem pole. Whether or not they can win will depend largely on who else jumps into the race. I suspect the field may be smaller and weaker for 2020 and that would help Hiroshima, but there are still many unknowns. If Munich loses 2018, will we see a Berlin bid? Or will the field be composed primarily of Istanbuls? If South Africa fields a credible bid, everybody can pack up and go home. If Pyeongchang wins 2018, I think the odds of Hiroshima winning in 2020 go down significantly. Especially if there's a strong bid from Europe (i.e. Rome or Berlin).

In other words, Hiroshima is really not in control of their own destiny. They would need a lot of help from their competitors.

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I just came back from a few weeks in Japan and basically, as I see it, the country really only has two options - Tokyo and Osaka. Lots of wonderful places in Japan, but these are the big guns. Tokyo's size, status and infrastructure makes it a no brainer. And Osaka has an energy to it, is a favourite of internationals, and has the benefit of being close and well connected to other nearby large cities (Kobe and Kyoto). Nagoya is too grey and industrial. Hiroshima didn't seem Olympic-sized enough. Fukouka isn't that well known enough outside Japan. And the country's other cities are either too small or too close to other major centres (Kyoto and Kobe, for example). There is also Sapporo, but it seems much more naturally fit for Winter Games.

Tokyo first. Osaka second. Both recent failed bids, too. And both bids were scuppered in the name of another first time host wannabe city bidding at the same time.

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  • 5 months later...

Hadn't heard much for a while, but it still seems Hiroshima's bid is still alive:

Hiroshima may propose 2020 Olympic Games start on A-bombing anniversary

Tuesday 21st September, HIROSHIMA — The city of Hiroshima may propose in its soon-to-be-drafted plan for its 2020 Summer Olympics bid that the Games open on the Aug 6 anniversary day of the city’s atomic bombing, sources familiar with the matter said.

The sources said Hiroshima officials are expected to finish putting together their draft bid package for the 2020 Olympics later this month and decide by the end of this year whether to announce a bid.

A widely supported idea had been a plan to inaugurate the Games on Aug 7 right after the anniversary day when the annual peace memorial ceremony is held with world leaders attending.

Sports officials are now proposing Aug 6, because holding the opening ceremony on the atomic bombing day would signal a message of a ‘‘peace Olympic Games’’ to the world, the sources said.

The draft plan centers on the use of temporary sports facilities to cut down on costs, the sources said.

Japan Today

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Well, it's a symbolic gesture but - and call me shallow and superficial if you like - the ocean of Durban, or the lights of Tokyo, or the history and architecture of Rome have far more appeal to me, and no doubt would for most of the IOC as well.

Beyond this, is it even appropriate? Fireworks in Hiroshima 75 years to the day after the bomb - that would put me off voting for the city if I were an IOC member. It seems almost grotesque actually. And besides, the IOC prefer to focus on the future these days rather than dwell on the past; Hiroshima's core message so far seems almost opposite to the kind of messages places like Rio and Beijing were focussing on.

Edited by RobH
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Well, it's a symbolic gesture but - and call me shallow and superficial if you like - the ocean of Durban, or the lights of Tokyo, or the history and architecture of Rome have far more appeal to me, and no doubt would for most of the IOC as well.

Beyond this, is it even appropriate? Fireworks in Hiroshima 75 years to the day after the bomb - that would put me off voting for the city if I were an IOC member. It seems almost grotesque actually. And besides, the IOC prefer to focus on the future these days rather than dwell on the past; Hiroshima's core message so far seems almost opposite to the kind of messages places like Rio and Beijing were focussing on.

Totally agree. It gives me mixed feelings as one from the country who did the bombing...

plus August 6, 2020 is a Thursday. Doesn't the IOC typically prefer the ceremonies on a Friday or weekend evening?

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And besides, the IOC prefer to focus on the future these days rather than dwell on the past; Hiroshima's core message so far seems almost opposite to the kind of messages places like Rio and Beijing were focussing on.

Exactly. This was even evident back in 1990 when the IOC awarded the Centennial Olympic Games to Atlanta instead of Athens. Awarding a 'new' city towards a new century for the 100th anniversary, versus just awarding because of history.

Also just like some IOC members have warned South Korea in going after a new angle for PyeongChang instead of the old 'reuniting North & South', as that message could start to get old N stale.

And besides, Hiroshima is pretty much in the same league as Tulsa, Birmingham, Adelaide, Edmonton, Hobart, Seville N Leipzig. The little league 'non-players'. Japan could go with a few other options before it should even think about considering Hiroshima. Like Osaka, Sapporo or even Nagoya.

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Man, Hiroshima is just as stubborn as Tulsa. :rolleyes:

Maybe they're not that bad... Does anyone have records of Hiroshima hosting the 1994 Asian Games? Was it a good and fun or just a cheesier Nagano?

I also agree with you guys. The message is good and beautiful but it doesn't seem fit for hosts of a two-week party. Plus, wasn't Hiroshima remembered during the Tokyo Games and their final torchbearer?

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  • 4 months later...

Still nothing concrete, but a rather pessimistic take on Japan's chances, with politics seeming to be the barrier.

Actually, a lot of the factors cited are the type of things we love to bandy about here (like the PC 2018 effect).

Japan's chances to host 2020 Games look slim to none

Japan's hopes to host the 2020 Summer Olympics looks bleak.

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, who was initially energetic about his city hosting the Games, suddenly announced his plans to step down when his current term expires in April. And Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who is considering another bid for the capital after failing to get the 2016 Olympics, hasn't clarified whether he will run for another term.

The Japanese Olympic Committee will be closely watching to see how things play out in April.

The idea for Hiroshima and Nagasaki to jointly host the Olympics began with Akiba in September 2008

"The Olympics are the only global festival that can celebrate the realization of a nuclear-free world," said Akiba, who wanted the Olympics for the only two cities to have suffered atomic bombings.

Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki are pushing for all nuclear weapons worldwide to be eliminated by 2020.

Akiba's plan for co-hosting the Games hit a roadblock before even getting out of the starting gate as the International Olympic Committee said its rules prohibit the co-hosting of any Olympics.

With Nagasaki now out of the picture, in September 2010 Akiba announced a basic plan that insisted on not building new stadiums or transport infrastructures due to the Hiroshima's tight budget. This ignited heated opposition and Akiba was criticized for his "unrealistic" plan to fund almost 100 billion yen of the total of more than 400 billion yen in costs by collecting donations from around the world.

According to polls conducted by numerous media outlets last fall, opponents largely outnumbered supporters of Akiba's plan.

Regarding his reason for stepping down as mayor this April, Akiba has only said in videos uploaded to a video-sharing website that, "It was time for me to leave."

Some analysts say Akiba was getting sick of the growing opposition to his idea for an Olympic bid. He is not expected to designate a successor, which means the idea of an Olympic bid for Hiroshima will probably fade away.

The JOC has effectively given up on Hiroshima and now focusing on Tokyo.

The JOC has invited IOC President Jacques Rogge to the JOC and Japan Sports Association's 100th anniversary ceremony to be held in Tokyo in July. It also invited the General Assembly of the Olympic Committee of Asia. The JOC seems prepared to present Tokyo as a prime candidate to IOC officials.

But there is fierce competition surrounding the hosting of the 2020 Olympic Games. South Africa is showing interest since its successful hosting soccer's World Cup last year. Rome, which aims to host an Olympic Games for the first time in 60 years, has already expressed its intention to place a bid. If Pyeongchang, South Korea, is picked to host the 2018 Winter Olympics (to be determined in July), chances of another East Asian nation hosting the Olympics will be slim.

But Hiroshima is not completely out of the picture just yet.

"It's better for Hiroshima if other cities place bids," said one JOC offcial. "This is a time for not Tokyo, but for Japan to place an Olympic bid."

Within JOC, there is a "Plan B" to allow Tokyo to host most of the Games and have Hiroshima co-host some competitions.

But the main player in this scenario--Tokyo--is less than enthusiastic.

Governor Ishihara said it would be difficult for Tokyo to successfully win a bid even it tried again. In a Jan. 23 interview on TV Asahi, Ishihara said of the 2020 summer Olympic bid, "I would like to try it. But it's not possible considering Japan's attitude. We can't make an all-out effort (if) citizens have no strong interest on this matter."

Ishihara added that the decision on whether to place another Olympic bid was, "the next governor's decision."

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has appointed a person in charge of the Olympic bid within its Bureau of Sports.

"We want to be prepared to respond in case the next governor decides to take on the challenge again," said a senior official at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Asahi.com

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Y is the JOC even contemplating Hiroshima? Is it out of desperation just in case Tokyo says "no thank you".

In whatever the case, Hiroshima would be a sinking ship against the likes of Rome, Madrid, Durban, Istanbul & possibly a late Paris entry.

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Y is the JOC even contemplating Hiroshima? Is it out of desperation just in case Tokyo says "no thank you".

In whatever the case, Hiroshima would be a sinking ship against the likes of Rome, Madrid, Durban, Istanbul & possibly a late Paris entry.

Well, at least they're going through due and proper process - as CONI did in Italy, but as SASOC in South Africa embarassingly didn't do in their rush to annoint Durban - which they still now haven't officially done now.

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Well, at least they're going through due and proper process - as CONI did in Italy, but as SASOC in South Africa embarassingly didn't do in their rush to annoint Durban - which they still now haven't officially done now.

What is so great about a proper process? In Japan, you can be fairly sure a "proper process" will deliver Tokyo, just as a "proper process" in Italy will deliver Rome. In South Africa, Cape Town was already on record as saying they were not interested in 2020, and frankly, other than Durban, the only capable city is Johannesburg and they have an altitude problem.

I'm quite fine with an autocratic choice for Durban. There is no embarrassment in it, as you claim. The embarrassment is that cities like Cape Town after the fact demand to be included and then when offered the opportunity, simply get up and reject it again. It's an embarrassment for Cape Town, not for SA.

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I'm quite fine with an autocratic choice for Durban. There is no embarrassment in it, as you claim. The embarrassment is that cities like Cape Town after the fact demand to be included and then when offered the opportunity, simply get up and reject it again. It's an embarrassment for Cape Town, not for SA.

Yes, and I really think that what 2010 showed (for a 2020 run) is that the #3 city really offers the better climate which the IOC'ers will feel for themselves at the projected time of the Games. If the IOC Session were held in CT or Johannesburg in the same July, I think it might give the IOC'ers pause and consider other cities, purely from a climatological asepct.

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CT like PE and JHB asked to be able to consider it properly, with a proper process.

CT considered it and declined AFTER being given a proper deadline.

SASCOC were sent back to the drawing board by government to run a proper process and now have to start all over again.

CT or no CT. If a proper process was started in the first place, we could have been winding up the domestic race.

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From Mario Pescante, the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the new President of Rome's bid:

"Tokyo will be the most dangerous, because its preparations are already under way having bid for 2016."

http://insidethegames.biz/summer-olympics/2020/12043-pescante-confirmed-as-leader-of-rome-2020-olympic-bid

Do we think this is speculative, or does he know something?

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From Mario Pescante, the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the new President of Rome's bid:

"Tokyo will be the most dangerous, because its preparations are already under way having bid for 2016."

http://insidethegames.biz/summer-olympics/2020/12043-pescante-confirmed-as-leader-of-rome-2020-olympic-bid

Do we think this is speculative, or does he know something?

Unfortunately, he uttered those words before Moody's cut Japan's credit rating to "NEGATIVE." Who would've thunk?

Source: BBC

Moody's Investor Services has cut its credit rating on Japan to "negative" from "stable" citing concerns about the country's debt levels.

Moody's currently rates Japan's government debt at an Aa2 level.

In January, rival rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Japan's credit rating from AA to AA-, also citing debt concerns.

Earlier this month, Japan was overtaken by China as the world's second-largest economy.

'Inexorable rise'

Japan has been trying to boost its economic growth and as a result government spending and borrowing has increased.

Moody's said that the government needed to do more to cut borrowing levels.

Japan currently has the highest debt levels of any industrialised nation.

Moody's said that it cut its rating on Japan because of "heightened concern that economic and fiscal policies may not prove strong enough to achieve the government's deficit reduction target".

http://www.blacklistednews.com/index.php?news_id=12796

I think this will definitely impact a Japan 2020 bid. So, Japan joins Greece, Spain and Ireland as nations with bad debt rating. Except for Ireland, all one-time summer Olympic host nations. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, is the UK next? :unsure:

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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CT like PE and JHB asked to be able to consider it properly, with a proper process.

CT considered it and declined AFTER being given a proper deadline.

Incorrect. After the World Cup success, Rogge encouraged South Africa to submit a bid for 2020. Most commentators, including on this board, felt Cape Town was a shoe-in for 2020 after this statement. Cape Town City Council responded with a press release stating they felt 2020 was too soon for them to submit a bid, and that they'd consider it for later cycles. It was a clear f-you from Cape Town to SASCOC, saying "we're not interested". At this point, the situation was as follows:

- Cape Town had clearly said "no, not interested for 2020"

- Johannesburg, while feasible, has altitude issues and had shown zero interest so far

- PE, which till then had also shown no interest, is not a viable contender, it's like Tulsa

- Durban was actively courting SASCOC, even presenting bid plans

So, given that, why on earth would SASCOC feel the need to waste time and money getting other cities to bid? So, they annointed Durban. At which point Cape Town through a hissy fit, demanded a process to include them. They got their wish, forced SASCOC to spend political capital and money, and then turned around and again Cape Town gave SASCOC the big "f-you".

I feel the same about Japan. Toyko is the viable city. Maybe Osaka can make it work, but Hiroshima is not viable. Running a domestic process in Japan, when you already have a good repeat bidder in Tokyo, is a waste of time and money.

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And why is Hiroshima not viable? It has some experience through hosting World Cup matches and of course hosting the 1994 Asian Games, but surely with using what you got, proposing a couple of new projects here and there, it could host? It's got a nice small population of a little over 1,100,000 million and has the "Olympic" park style deal covered. It just needs to propose some new major projects, improve it's transport infrastructure and build a couple of new hotels. It could easily host an Olympics in the style of Barcelona for example, or even Atlanta for that matter, a small, simple Olympics, deep in meaning.

A 2020 Olympics in Hiroshima would commemorate the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb. The games could either symbolically start at the 6th of August, or end on that date. If Hiroshima is ever going to bid (and host for that matter) 2020 is the time. Just have Nagasaki host some football preliminaries.

Simply put, I wouldn't necessarily call it a waste of money just because Tokyo is a stronger bid, and unlike Tokyo, it has a fairly modern stadium that just needs expansion to 60,000 (the ideal capacity for a city of such size), it could work, just stop thinking about sharing the bid with Nagasaki, that would just kill any bid right there.

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