By David Owen

tokyo 2020_logo_30-11-11November 30 - Tokyo 2020 has turned to Japan's traditional flower, the cherry blossom, to help it win the right to stage the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in just under nine years' time.

The city's bid committee has chosen a multicoloured, circular arrangement of the blossoms, known as sakura, as its bid logo.

Speaking at an unveiling ceremony in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, a "delighted" Tsunekazu Takeda, Tokyo 2020 President, said that the logo "symbolises the concepts of friendship, peace, eternity, happiness and unity, concepts that we hold most dear".

It was in the form of a flower that "in itself, is an internationally recognised symbol of Japan".

A competition to submit logo designs for the bid was opened to young art and design students, with the winner – Ai Shimamine, a fourth-year student at the Joshibi University of Art and Design – selected by a panel of judges.

In conceiving the design, Shimamine sought advice from Kunio Hisada, art director at GK Graphics.

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Each spring, a spectacular wave of cherry blossoms – the sakura zensen – sweeps from the south along the entire length of Japan, from Okinawa to Hokkaido.

As author Will Ferguson has written in his travel book Hokkaido Highway Blues, "When the cherry blossoms hit, they hit like a hurricane.

"Nowhere on earth does spring arrive as dramatically as it does in Japan."

Tokyo is widely expected to mount a stronger challenge for the Games than it did in 2016, when it finished third behind winner Rio de Janeiro and Madrid.

This time the opposition comes from Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid (again) and Rome.

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