November 26 - The decision of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to serve as a top adviser to a panel supporting Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics will help boost backing for their campaign, it is claimed.
Noda was asked to assume the post for the Tokyo 2020 Liaison Advisory Board and for the Government to give its full support by Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda.
Tokyo's bid for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics was undermined by lack of public support.
Despite a massive public advertising campaign, Tokyo's public support trailed a long way behind the other bidding cities, falling from a high of 72 per cent in March 2008 to a low of 56 per cent in May 2009, earning it a black mark in the report published by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Evaluation Report.
Tokyo were evantually eliminated in the second round of voting at the IOC Session in Copenhagen in October 2009 as the Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.
Masato Mizuno, the chief executive of Tokyo 2020, is confident that Noda's high-profile backing for the bid will help earn it public support as it faces rivals Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid and Rome.
"The panel's main task is to promote domestic support," Mizuno told insidethegames here where he was attending a dinner held in celebration of the centenary of the Russian Olympic Committee.
"We learnt from the last bid that public support was very low and we have to raise that support."
Noda, who was chosen as Japan's new Prime Minister in September, struck a positive upbeat tone after it was announced that he was to lead the new panel.
"Let us do our best to make this bid a success," he said.
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