Public support grows for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic bid

A poll conducted by an official bid partner of the 2020 Olympic Games, the Yomiuri Shimbun, has revealed a dramatic increase in the amount of public support for Tokyo’s bid to host the Games in seven years’ time.

The pool showed that public support levels had increased to 70%, a dramatic step up from the results drawn from a similar poll taken by the International Olympic Committee in May 2012, where public support was at just 47%.

The survey, taken on February 23rd and 24th, questioned over 3,000 Japanese voters, selected at random from 250 locations across Japan. Other findings from the survey show a drop in the amount of opposition to the idea of Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics (from 22% last May to 12% this month), as well as a positive outlook on the benefits of Japan hosting the Olympics, with 73% of those favourable towards the bid expecting the Games to have a positive effect on the Japanese economy.

The International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission is currently undertaking a four-day inspection tour of Tokyo as they gather data prior to September’s vote, in which Tokyo is competing as a potential host for the 2020 Olympics, against competitor cities Madrid and Istanbul. The Evaluation Commission visited, amongst other places, the national stadium in Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (where IOC Committee members took on Olympian table tennis player Ai Fukuhara) and the Tokyo International Forum, all of which are proposed sites for the Games should Tokyo win the bid.

The Yomiuri Shimbun’s results show a marked increase in levels of support as compared to an IOC survey conducted in 2009, when Tokyo unsuccessfully bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. At the same point four years ago, the survey showed only 56% of Tokyo residents were supportive of the Games being hosted in Japan. It is thought that it was this lack of public support contributed heavily to Japan losing out against Rio de Janeiro in 2009.

This time around, however, the surveys tell a different story altogether, and many believe that the increased support for the bid is due to thorough and extensive marketing campaigns, combined with the excellent performance of the Japanese national team at last year’s London Olympics, where the team brought home a record 38 medals, the highest number of medals scored at any Olympic Games by a Japanese team since 1912.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the Tokyo 2020 bid president, showed a positive attitude towards the survey’s results, saying ‘It demonstrates Tokyo’s unmatched passion for sport and desire to host the 2020 Games. We would like to increase the support even more…We should not be content with 70%. We will make efforts to muster more support from as many people as possible.’

IOC members will vote to choose the 2020 Olympic Games host on September 7th, at a meeting in Buenos Aires.

Sources include: The Japan Times

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