March 1 - Sir Craig Reedie arrived to a red carpet welcome here today as he prepared to chair the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission visit to inspect the Japanese capital's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
The Briton was met at Narita International Airport by flag-waving schoolchildren and Tsunekazu Takeda, President of Tokyo 2020 and the Japanese Olympic Committee,
Sir Craig, a former President of the International Badminton Federation, was also presented with a bunch of flowers by Noriko Nakayama, a member of the Nippon Badminton Association's Executive Board.
Later, at the Palace Hotel, the Commission's base for the week, Sir Craig was greeted by Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose.
Other members of the Commission have also started to arrive here, including IOC members Switzerland's Patrick Baumann, Germany's Claudia Bokel, France's Guy Drut, Namibia's Frankie Fredericks and Thailand's Nat Indrapana.
They will be joined a group of experts, including David Stubbs, who was head of sustainability at London 2012, and Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Executive Director of the Olympic Games, ahead of the four-day inspection, which is due to officially start on Monday (March 4).
"It is a tremendous honour to welcome the IOC Evaluation Commission chair and his colleagues to Tokyo," said Takeda.
"For the next week, we will go all out to demonstrate our winning formula for hosting the Games in 2020.
"We are fully prepared for this moment and now look forward to showing our guests everything that the amazing city of Tokyo has to offer."
Tokyo, who last held the Olympics in 1964, is the first city that the IOC Evaluation Commission is visiting and it will be followed by trips to Madrid and Istanbul later this month.
Eight years ago Sir Craig was heavily involved in London's bid for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics when the IOC Evaluation Commission, chaired on that occasion by Morocco's Nawal El Moutawakel.
"It was a seminal moment in terms of encouraging a slightly sceptical British media that this was serious and this was good," Sir Craig told Associated Press.
"If we can do that in Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul, we serve the Olympic Movement and the ambitions of these cities."
Tokyo have openly admitted that they are using London 2012 as a blueprint.
"I told [Sir Craig] what an enormous success the London Olympics was," Inose said.
But Sir Craig promised he and his team will judge each team on their merits when they produce their report, which is due to be published before the IOC decides which city should host the Games at its Session in Buenos Aires on September 7.
"The whole evaluation process...is in some ways a risk assessment," he said.
"If this Commission sees there are risks in these cities, they will record that in an intelligent way in the report."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
September 2012: Sir Craig Reedie to chair 2020 Evaluation Commission