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Abe launches gov't work to host 2020 Olympics amid nuclear concerns

TOKYO, Sept. 10, Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday instructed his ministers to start preparations for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo after the city won the right to host the Games over the weekend, pledging to address concerns about the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Victory in the race to host the Games was a "result of nationals united as 'Team Japan,'" Abe told a meeting of ministers after arriving home Monday from Buenos Aires, where he participated in Japan's final presentation to the International Olympic Committee.

"We must make preparation swiftly and steadily," Abe said, adding the government "will fully support the work to develop all necessary settings to secure a success."

As the government has been forced to play roles in tackling the massive buildup of radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Abe said the government "will fulfill its responsibility thoroughly."

Last week, the government announced emergency steps to handle the crisis, including providing funding to address the toxic water problem, which had been regarded as a setback for Tokyo's Olympics bid.

On Tuesday, Abe's Cabinet agreed to use 20.57 billion yen ($205 million) in reserve funds under the fiscal 2013 budget as part of a wider plan to spend a total of about 47 billion yen to tackle the problem.

While Abe has said the government will not leave the problem entirely to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., and the government is now preparing to spend taxpayer money to cover the cost of technical challenges such as a plan to freeze the soil around the reactor buildings to stop groundwater from seeping in and mixing with contaminated water.

Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics on Saturday, beating Istanbul and Madrid.


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Abe wasn't originally going to mention radioactive water leak in Olympic speech
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen answering a question after his Olympic bid presentation in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Sept. 7. (Mainichi)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's team made a last-minute decision to address the radioactive water leak at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Abe's speech ahead of the vote for the 2020 Olympics that tilted the selection in Tokyo's favor.

Originally Abe's plan had been to leave the leak issue out of his final presentation before the vote of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). However, on arriving at the site of the Olympic host vote in Buenos Aires on Sept. 6 local time, Abe was informed by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and others who had arrived beforehand that the radioactive water problem was damaging Japan's image. After receiving the reports, he met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko and others to reassess his strategy. In these last moments, they changed the plan and decided to make the speech lay out the Japanese government's stance on the leak issue, with additional explanation to be given in response to audience questions.

Abe's efforts to help the bid started well before this. Even back in January, soon after taking office, Abe was working toward the Olympic bid. During a study briefing ahead of his visit to three Southeast Asian countries, Abe asked a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official which countries had IOC members, criticizing the official when they struggled to answer.

At a March 4 official welcoming reception for the IOC Evaluation Commission visiting Tokyo, Abe sung a part of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics song "Umi o koete tomo yo kitare" (Come across the ocean, friend). A source near to the prime minister recalls, "It was around this time that the Foreign Ministry, which had been leaving the Olympic bid to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, started getting serious about it."

On Aug. 8, Abe appointed Waseda University professor Takeo Hirata as a special advisor to the Cabinet and immediately dispatched him to Argentina in preparation for the vote. Hirata, who had worked at the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry and been a managing director at the Japan Football Association, is a "professional vote predictor," according to a source who worked with him in the ministry. He also has close ties to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and from Argentina he reported on the local status back to the prime minister.

Then, during his visit to the Middle East and east Africa in late August, Abe asked IOC members in Kuwait, Djibouti and Qatar for their votes in Buenos Aires. A source who accompanied Abe says, "There were times when, after meeting with a country's leader, the prime minister would speak one-to-one with an IOC member."

On Aug. 19, however, the issue of water leak from an aboveground tank at the Fukushima plant came to light, and other countries became more concerned about the Fukushima situation.

Part of the reason for Abe's last-minute decision to include the leak issue in his presentation was advice from an IOC member that his words as prime minister would carry much weight. A source who accompanied the prime minister says that the parts of his speech about promising to fulfill his responsibilities to the children of the disaster area and the athletes who come for the Olympics were made up on the spot.

A senior Liberal Democratic Party official said, "If we had failed after this amount of buildup it would have been terrible." However, with the success, Abe has succeeded in fortifying the possibility of a long-term administration.

Meanwhile, when asked on a Sept. 8 television program what position he will have when watching the Olympics seven years from now, Abe deflected the question by joking, "I don't think it will be as one of the competitors."


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Japan, S Korea to cooperate on 2018, 2020 Games

Sporting chiefs in Japan and South Korea have agreed to put their countries’ diplomatic differences aside and work together to make a success of Olympic Games being held in both nations.

Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda met his South Korean counterpart in Buenos Aires after Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 summer Games on Saturday, Jiji Press reported.

The 2018 winter Games will take place in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul.

The two men agreed that officials from both nations would support each other, Takeda said, adding that he told Korean Olympic Committee chief Kim Jung-Haeng they should cooperate because “an Asian era will go on from Pyeongchang to Tokyo,” Jiji reported.

“We are in a difficult time but we have maintained good relations in sports,” he added.

Ties between the two countries are strained by the legacy of Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula in the first half of the 20th century. They also disagree over the sovereignty of a pair of islets.

Tensions were heightened by last month’s visit of Japanese ministers and politicians to a controversial shrine in Tokyo that honors Japan’s war dead, including several war criminals.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who came to power in December, has not yet held a summit with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, who took office in February.

Meanwhile, Abe plans to appoint Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura as minister for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, media reported Wednesday.

© 2013 AFP


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^^ Japan is a country well known for having excellent designers, so I hope they make a good logo.

Then again, South Korea and Germany also have, and then we got those abominations of the 2018 WOG and 2006 WC logos respectively. I want something simple but beautiful which represents both the event and the country. I'm getting a bit tired as well of certain logos which, despite beautiful, are also too complex. Logo is not equal to an illustration.

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I like the logo they've got. With the blossoms and the red dot it instantly says Japan. It would stand as a games logo. Are there other cases of a bid that won & you'd rather they didn't change the logo?

No. U'd be stupid not to -- altho in the cases of Vancouver, Sochi and PyeongChang, they should've stuck with their bid logos as the Games logos really pathetic.

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Hey baron, thanks but I don't seem to be able to start a poll. When did they start to change the logos? I know Barcelona did, but I'm not sure about before that.

I don't know when the bidding logos (different from the Games logos) began but--off the top of my head-- you're right in that Barcelona too is the earliest one I can also remember having a 'bid' logo which changed once it became Official.

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Thanks baron :) I'll see if I can find someone who can set up a poll. Can you start a thread & then put a poll on it later?

I mean to say is it possible for me to start the thread :)

Uhmmmm...no. That means I would have to manage it. Not really interested in the subject that much to want to have do a poll. Sorry.

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Hey baron, thanks but I don't seem to be able to start a poll. When did they start to change the logos? I know Barcelona did, but I'm not sure about before that.

Google "Aldaver" and logos (I'm sitting in a hotel lobby in Melbourne with my iPad which I find hard to cut and paste links on), but the Aldaver site is pretty comprehensive when it comes to logos and bid logos to most major big sports events.

Personally, I preferred Sydney's bid logo to our games one. I also had a high regard for Rio's bid logo - though I also like their games one.

Edited by Sir Rols
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Personally, I preferred Sydney's bid logo to our games one. I also had a high regard for Rio's bid logo - though I also like their games one.

Really? I was just looking through the logos chronologically recently and despite is vague resemblance to Barcelona's logo, I think the official Sydney 2000 logo pops off the screen. It is so fresh and playful - especially following the rather staid and handsome Atlanta logo. I think it has dated - it is very 90s, but it is the best aspect of 90s design that I think will be looked back upon fondly. Much like Tokyo 1964 is a demonstration of 60s modernity, Sydney 2000 is a great example of late 90s too cool for school.

Looking at the Barcelona bid logo..how the hell did that make it past the IOC??!! :wacko:

because it was 1986. There was no Internet. PR didn't mean as much.

Brisbane didn't even really have a 1992 bid logo. Just its mascot plonked on top of Australia's Coat of Arms and the Olympic Rings.

I love the Melbourne 1996 logo - which would not be allowed today, as it features the Olympic flame, something the IOC scorned Chicago 2016 for:


It is interesting how bid logos tend to feature all five Olympic colours very boldly - official logos don't tend to do this.

Other logos I love are Toronto 2008 and Tokyo 2016.

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