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2007 Tokyo Big Marathon

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Guest tokyo2016

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The Tokyo Olympics (August 29, 2006)

At the end of this past June, I submitted the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's plan for holding the 2016 Olympic Games to Mr. Tsunekazu Takeda, the President of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC).

Based on this plan, the members of the JOC selection committee, which consists of delegates from various sporting organizations and the executive board members of the JOC will draw a comparison between Tokyo and its rival, Fukuoka. At the end of August a decision will be made by the JOC selection committee as to which of these two cities will be Japan's candidate. As far as Tokyo is concerned, we submitted our bid with full confidence.

<Tokyo To Be Japan’s 2016 Summer Games Bid Candidate. August 30, 2006>

London has been selected to host the Summer Olympics in 2012, and I visited the city understanding that it is dedicating all out full efforts to prepare for the event. I met with the UK's leading spokesman, Sebastian Coe, a former Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500 meter track event, and. Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London. London underwent a change in administrative structure and in the first mayoral election held the city welcomed Ken Livingstone as its mayor. This was the first time in the UK for a mayor to be elected by direct popular vote.

Ken Livingstone was formerly a Member of Parliament from the Labour Party. He is regarded as an extremely left-wing politician, so much so that he was nicknamed “Red Ken” - although I am not aware of what defines the far left in the United Kingdom.

When it was decided after he became mayor that London will host the Olympic Games, he showed an additional surge of determination, preparing for this event with a display of entrepreneurial spirit. My visit to London was therefore very informative and rewarding.

At any rate, up to the London Olympics, I believe we will continue to see the traditional 20th century-style Olympic Games. But with regard to Tokyo, I am fully confident that we will be able to hold an Olympics that will be a new 21st century model which fully utilizes the world-class cutting-edge technology found in Tokyo to provide both athletes and spectators alike with conveniences that will be unprecedented.

In discussions with specialists in this area, many outstanding ideas that are unfathomable and may even seem farfetched to laymen such as ourselves are being considered, but since these ideas might get stolen if brought to light for no reason, I intend to have such preparations take place behind the scenes after Tokyo wins the bid in order to astound the world.

First, though, Tokyo needs to be chosen as Japan's candidate and then win in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) competition to host the Olympics 10 years down the road.

Preparations for this will involve both clear and hidden challenges. Nevertheless, my trip to London left me convinced that Tokyo stands a good chance. Paris ended up losing to London although it had some outstanding features. The decisive factor for its loss appeared to be criticism that the venues were spread apart and too far from the Olympic Village. In this respect the IOC says that it would like cities to comply, to the extent possible, with the rule of keeping the major competition venues within a 10 km radius.

Tokyo has geographical conditions that make this very feasible. For instance, we plan to construct the main stadium in the Tokyo Waterfront City where land reclamation has been completed. Moreover, the more recent reclaimed land adjacent to the Tokyo Waterfront City will be used for the Olympic Village, which will be sold on the market after the Olympics as a residential area in a new, stylish environment. It's also a happy coincidence that the wholesale market in Tsukiji is set to move to Toyosu, which will leave a vacated lot in Tsukiji five or six years before the Olympics.

Since the current building of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)-occupied since the time of the last Tokyo Olympics-has become quite old, another possibility would be for NHK to use the Media Center (established on the lot vacated by the move of Tsukiji Market) after the Olympics. In this respect, unlike Fukuoka, Tokyo has absolutely no need to begin new land reclamation or land purchases.

I very much feel that this is a blessing from heaven, and by harnessing the advantages arising from these timely coincidences I intend to hold an amazing Olympic Games in Tokyo.

To this end I would like you to send in your requests and share with us your wisdom and ideas. We will take an active stance to incorporate feasible concepts that could make the Olympics in Tokyo a type that has never been seen before. I look forward to receiving your requests and ideas.

With regard to speculations that the Olympics will cost a huge sum of money, it will not be that costly. This is because we already have the land necessary to hold it. Meanwhile, the Olympics contain multiple and complex factors. For example, the Tokyo Olympics 40 years ago sparked developments that surpassed expectations—in less than a year Japan entered a stage of high economic growth. We quickly became the second largest economy in the world, right behind the United States. In this regard, the economic merit of the 2016 Olympics, aside from social benefits arising from infrastructure development, is estimated or calculated to be about 4 trillion yen. In contrast, the amount that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will have to shoulder will be surprisingly small, about 50 billion yen. With such considerations, I believe that the Olympics will surely trigger Japan's new leap forward in the 21st century.

Shintaro Ishihara,

Governor of Tokyo

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