December 21 - Tokyo's newly elected Metropolitan Governor Naoki Inose has today been named as chairman of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, after the 66-year-old prizewinning writer made a pledge to bring the Games back to the Japanese capital for the first time since 1964 at his election.
Inose (pictured top, second right) was formally welcomed to Tokyo 2020 at a strategy meeting held by the Bid Committee and Council, and attended by top representatives of Government, business and sport today.
"I would like to personally thank the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee for their unyielding passion and dedication throughout this bid campaign," said Inose.
"We have learned important lessons from our previous bid, and now have the experience to deliver a stronger and improved bid plan.
"I will do everything possible to host the 2020 Games, by uniting the country as one through close collaboration with the Bid Committee, national Government, and sports and business communities."
Before being elected Metropolitan Governor on Sunday (December 16), Inose had been Tokyo's Vice-Governor since 2007 before becoming acting Governor on November 1 when the controversial Shintaro Ishihara, who had held the role for more than 13 years, stepped down to concentrate on national politics.
As well as his Olympic promise, he named the integration of Tokyo's two subway systems and reforming Japan's power industry as his top electoral pledges.
"Governor Inose has been following our bid closely for the past five years as Tokyo's Vice-Governor," he said.
"He has steadily supported our aspirations to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, so we couldn't be happier to have him on our team.
"His guidance and influence will strengthen our collaborations with the national and local Governments, as well as the business and sport communities.
"His strong presence gives us even greater hope of realising our goal to host the greatest celebration on the planet: the Olympic and Paralympic Games."
The strategy meeting also saw Tokyo 2020 discussing preparations for several critical events over the coming months, including the Candidature File submission on January 7 and the IOC Evaluation Commission's visit to Japan between March 3 and 7.
In addition, the Official Ambassador Programme was discussed and five Ambassadors were introduced – Homare Sawa, the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year in 2011 and a key player on Japan's silver-medal football team at the London 2012 Olympics; Saori Yoshida, three-time Olympic 55kg freestyle wrestling gold medallist; Wakako Tsuchida, five-time Paralympian and Athens Paralympic gold medallist in the women's 5,000 metres; Takayuki Suzuki, three-time swimming Paralympian and London 2012 50m backstroke bronze medallist; and Yuki Ota, a leading fencer and part of the first Japanese fencing team to win an Olympic medal.
Among their first duties, Sawa and Yoshida are set to take part in a Tokyo 2020 promotional event at the Emperor Cup Final football match a the Olympic Stadium in the Japanese capital on New Year's Day.
Tokyo is bidding against Madrid and Istanbul for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to select the host city on September 7 next year at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.
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