December 28 - Japan's new Government has pledged its backing to Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
Shinzō Abe (pictured top) was officially installed as the country's new Prime Minister on Wednesday (January 26) by Parliament following the election earlier this month.
The Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner have a two-thirds majority in the lower house and Abe is the country's seventh Prime Minister in six years.
The elections were held at the same time as those that saw Naoki Inose elected as the new Governor of Tokyo.
Like Inose, Abe, who was formerly Prime Minister in 2006-2007, has moved swiftly to underline that the bid to bring the Olympics back to the Japanese capital for the first time since 1964 retains full support of the new administration.
A delegation of senior members from Tokyo 2020, including Tsunekazu Takeda, President of both the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and Tokyo 2020, and Masato Mizuno, the chief executive of the bid. have already held talks with Hakubun Shimomura, Japan's new Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
"I was elected in Tokyo, so this bid means very much to me," said Shimomura.
"I plan on attending the Candidature File submission press conference in Tokyo [on January 8] to reiterate the unequivocal support our newly formed national Government will continue to provide the bid."
Shimomura has also revealed that he wants to set-up a new organisation, an Agency for Sports, to administer sport in Japan.
The Japanese Parliament's House of Representatives and the House of Councillors both passed resolutions expressing their full cooperation and support for Tokyo 2020 in December 2011.
The Bid Committee responded by inaugurating the Tokyo 2020 Council, a senior Advisory Board consisting of 64 members from Government, including the Prime Minister, who serves as Supreme Advisor, and leading figures from Japan's business and sporting communities.
A further boost for Tokyo's bid domestically is that Taro Aso, who was the Prime Minister during the build-up to Tokyo's unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics three years ago, has been given a senior role in the new Government.
He has been appointed as the Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
The London School of Economics graduate represented Japan in the 1976 Montreal Olympics when he competed in skeet shooting.
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