By Duncan Mackay at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex in St Petersburg

Naoki Inose St Petersburg May 30 2013May 30 - Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose was again at the centre of attention as he today led Tokyo's first major international appearance to promote its bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Here he remained on message in emphasising the strengths of the bid from the Japanese capital without criticising their rivals.

This was the first occasion Inose had appeared at a major public event since he was forced last month to apologise after what he called "inappropriate" comments he made about Istanbul and Islamic countries during an interview with the New York Times

Tokyo, bidding to host the Games for the first time since 1964, are the favourites to win this race against Turkey's financial capital and Madrid. 

But it is widely perceived among many experts that their bid lacks the glamour of its rivals, which may be a disadvantage when the vote takes place at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires on Septmber 7 - exactly 100 days from now.
Tokyo 2020 presentation St Petersburg May 30 2013Tokyo 2020's high-octane presentation seemed to capture the imagination of the audience

"I understand that many people are saying that our bid is the 'safe' option in this campaign," Inose told the audience here at the SportAccord International Convention.

"What I don't why some people seem to think that this could be a bad thing.

"We are proud that our city is the safest in the world, according to a survey last year 75,000 global travellers.

"We are also very proud that our finances offer the strongest foundations to host the Games.

"Tokyo has the biggest economy of any city in the world.

"Indeed, if it were a country, Tokyo's economy would almost make the global top ten.

"This financial strength has allowed us to build up the $4.5 million (£2.8 billion/€3.3 billion) Games Hosting Fund.

"This is cash in the bank.

"Ready right now to pay for all new permanent venues and infrastructure."

Inose spearheaded a 20 minute presentation which fizzed with energy, enthusiasm and passion - a stark contrast to their unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

It was rewarded with the best reception from the audience of all three of the cities, who cheered and applauded at regular intervals during the presentation.

Tokyo 2020 presentation St Petersburg 2 May 30 2013Seoul 1988 synchronised swimmer bronze medallist Mikako Kotani conducted a virtual tour of Tokyo's proposed facilities for 2020 for the audience

Fencer Yuki Ota, a double Olympic silver medallist, including at London 2012, where he was a member of the team foil, spoke eloquently of his excitment about the prospect of the Games going to Japan.

As an example of how an Olympics there might pictures were shown of the heroes parade when the Japanese team returned from London 2012 after winning a record 38 medals, including seven gold.

"Our team success resulted in one of the most remarkable days of my life," said Ota.

"When half a million people took to the streets of Tokyo - on a weekday - to welcome us athletes home.

"Just look at the pictures...

"And imagine that passion in 2020.

"Every venue will be full of colour, enthusiasm... and respect.

"Japanese fans are very passionate... appreciate fair play...and are very knowledgeable about sports and its values."

Tokyo 2020 get ready for Sport Accord Presentation May 30 2013 St PetersburgTokyo's presentation team of Yuko Arakida, Yuuki Ota, Naoki Inose, Tsunekazu Takeda, Teru Fukui, Masato Mizuno get ready to present their city's bid for 2020

Afterwards Ota said he hoped that the team, which also included Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and Tokyo 2020 President Tsunekazu Takeda and the bid's chief executive Masato Mizuno, had got across their enthusiasm.

"I heard passion was missing from the 2016 bid but I hope that wasn't the case this year," he said. 

Takeda finished the presentation reminding the audience, made up of a combination of IOC members, international federations and sports business executives, of three pillars of their bid - delivery, celebration, innovation.

"In a city that bridges and unites two global cultures - East and West...and which will connect with all five continents," he said.

"Tokyo 2020 will be Games that reach new generations in these challenging and fast-changing times for sport.

"And benefit the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, the global sports family and all of us, and you, who believe in the lasting and global power of sport."

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