Political stability will help Tokyo 2020, claims new Governor

Thursday, 10 January 2013
By Duncan Mackay at St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel

Naoki Inose with Takeda London January 10 2012January 10 - Tokyo's new Governor Naoki Inose hopes a relative period of political stability in Japan will help the city's bid to bring the Olympics and Paralympics back to the capital for the first time since 1964, also claiming that the simmering territorial dispute with China over control of islands in the East China Sea will not derail the campaign.

Inose (pictured above right) was elected to replace Shintaro Ishihara last month after five months as his deputy at the same time that Shinzo Abe returned as Prime Minister following a five-year absence. 

It was the eighth time that Japan has changed its Prime Minister in seven years.

Inose claimed that the fact that there were three Prime Ministers alone during Tokyo's unsuccessful bid to host 2016 meant that it never had any political momentum behind it, especially compared to Rio de Janeiro, who were awarded the Games.

"The Government was changing every year so there was really no central backing for the bid," Inose told insidethegames here after leading the launch of Tokyo's international campaign.

"It was a time when the political situation was meandering so there was no way that the Olympic bid would have much effect on the agenda in Japan.

"But I'm sure that the new central Government will remain there for a while - at least until September!"

That was a reference to September 7 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will choose the host city at its 125th Session in Buenos Aires, where Tokyo will face rivals Istanbul and Madrid.

Tokyo 2020 bid team at London January 10 2013Tokyo's bid team launched their international campaign to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

Earlier, when asked whether Abe would be attending the Session to help lobby for Tokyo, as Tony Blair had done when London were awarded 2012 and Vladimir Putin Sochi 2014, Inose had joked: "I will make him come."

There is some speculation within the IOC that the tension which still exists between Japan and China after Tokyo - under Ishihara - bought the Senkaku Islands from their Japanese private owners in September could affect the bid.

That led thousands of Chinese holding demonstrations and boycotting Japanese products.

But Inose is confident that the election of Abe, who is seen as being more pragmatic and commited to restoring good relations with China, will ensure that the issue will not overshadow the bid.

"Territorial questions happen all the time in the whole world," said Inose, who appeared at the press conference alongside Tsunekazu Takeda, the President of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and Tokyo 2020. 

"I'm sure both countries will be able to find a peaceful way to resolve it."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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