Tokyo Bid for the 2016 Olympic Games

by : Adam Singleton

Despite Chicago being considered the front-runner for the 2016 summer Olympics, the city of Tokyo in Japan is confident that they will secure the athletic spectacle. Their confidence and hopes are placed in making a bid for the 'compact' games; all the venues will be within a six mile radius. Athletes will be housed in the traditional village, composing of five high-rise buildings, and a 100,000 seat Stadium set on the Tokyo waterfront will be the highlight of the bid.

On Friday 14th September, one day after the deadline for submitting formal applications passed, the IOC announced that it had received applications from the cities of: Chicago, Baku (Azerbajan), Doha (Qatar), Madrid (Spain), Prague (Czech Republic), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Tokyo.

The Japanese capital's bid is being led by exuberant nationalist Shintaro Ishihara who used the Olympic bid as a key election manifesto item while running for his third term in April's elections. Now that he has successfully been re-elected the Olympic bid is in full flow. The flamboyant politician and president of the 2016 Olympic bid said: "winning the bid will be no easy task, but Tokyo is determined to demonstrate its capability to successfully host the games, and will vigorously promote the bid campaign with the full support of the government and the public."

However, Shiro Asana who lost out in the election to Ishihara is not so convinced that hosting the 2106 games in such a good idea. He said: "My concerns are with the cost and timings. I don't believe that the IOC will wish to return to Asia so soon after the Beijing games. That's why it is too risky to spend any significant sums on any bid at this point." In what may sound like bitter words after losing out to his political rival, Asana at his press conference in a hotel in Tokyo added: "this has more to do with Ishihara's ego than inspiring Japan's youth, as he claims."

Despite Asana's fears about cost, under the Olympic plans only two new competition venues are specifically slated to be built for the games, and Japan's central government has offered to pay half the total construction costs.

However, Tokyo is still considered an outside bet to host the games. Even though the city boasts the necessary amount of existing venues, many were used in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and will need extensive and costly renovation; something that the Japanese government will not help with. Plus, there is the Ishihara factor to contend with; even though he may be popular in his homeland many of his comments have angered his neighbours in Asia, and he is unlikely to win any support for the games from them.