August 23 - Radiation levels in Tokyo are the same as other major cities around the world despite the nuclear disaster at Fukushima and it should not prevent the Japanese capital hosting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the city's Governor Naoki Inose claimed today.
Japanese officials today revealed that their delegation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires, where Tokyo will face rivals Istanbul and Madrid, will be led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and also feature Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
"Let's have everyone fulfil their respective missions and responsibilities so we can sound off the announcement of '2020 Tokyo' on September 7," said Abe at Tokyo's kick-off rally held at City Hall today.
But international fears over over water leakage and radiation levels at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, threaten to cast a dark shadow over the final stages of Tokyo's campaign.
The ongoing problems at the Fukushima plant increased in recent days when the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) admitted that around 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank on the site.
The Japanese nuclear energy watchdog raised the incident level from one to three on the international scale that measures the severity of atomic accidents.
"Japan is trying to solve these problems with Fukushima," said Inose at the rally.
"The radiation levels are no different than in London or Paris.
Abe is also scheduled to attend the summit of the G20 summit to be held in St. Petersburg on September 5 and 6, where he is expected to meet bilaterally with other leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Tsunekazu Takeda, President of Tokyo 2020 and the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), claimed that his confidence remained high that they would justify their long-time tag as favourites to host the Games for the first time since 1964. which his father Prince Tsuneyoshi helped organise.
"We are honoured that Prime Minister Abe will lead our delegation to the IOC Session in Buenos Aires, which is a strong sign of how the whole of Japan is united behind and hugely passionate about our bid," said Takeda.
"The country is tremendously excited about our plans and we feel a great momentum continuing to build for our bid.
"Tokyo 2020 is the safe pair of hands that can be trusted to deliver superb Games in these uncertain times.
"Our global vision for the benefit of sport and the Olympic Movement is to use Tokyo 2020 to demonstrate the power of sport, capture the imagination of the world's youngest continent and further spread this inspiration worldwide founded on the Olympic Values.
"Our bid has strong and passionate public support and is united across all levels of Government, sport and business, and is ready to deliver outstanding Games that will showcase the importance and inspirational power of sport."
Tokyo's delegation for Buenos Aires will also include several of the country's best known sportsmen and women, including wrestler Hitomi Obara, the London 2012 48 kilogram freestyle champion, and marathon runner Yuko Arimori, the Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 silver and bronze medallist respectively.
"Team Nippon has solidified itself," said Inose.
"We will be able to demonstrate our unshakable confidence [at the IOC Session].
"In our final presentation we want to emphasise Tokyo's safety, the city's world-class transportation system, and our financial soundness as the strong points."
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