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Tokyo takes 2020 Olympic bid to London

Friday, January 11, 2013    

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LONDON, England (AFP) — Tokyo took its bid to stage the 2020 Olympics to London yesterday, with Japanese officials saying they wanted to follow the "shining example" set by last year's summer Games in the British capital.

For years Britain has been urged to follow the lead of Japan when it comes to good employer-worker relations and developing thriving technology and auto-making industries.

But when it comes to Olympics, London 2012 is now seen as the standard-bearer because of its determination to leave a lasting legacy.

So it was no surprise Tokyo chiefs used a hotel next to the city's St Pancras railway station, a main departure point for the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London, for the international launch of their 2020 campaign two days after a presentation in Japan.

"London 2012 was seen as a shining example of how to host, deliver and celebrate an Olympic Games," said Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda.

"We learn from the success of London 2012 in the importance of stressing legacy (provision) at every stage of the bid.

"My friend Seb Coe (the London Games supremo) demonstrated the importance of detail and that gave him time to focus on the extra elements that turn a Games from good to great," explained Takeda.

Last year saw London stage its third Games and Tokyo too is looking to become a repeat host, having been the venue for the 1964 summer Olympics.

Recently-elected Tokyo governor Naoki Inose, who attended the 2012 Games, said Thursday the Japanese capital and London were similar cities.

"International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said London had 'shown the world the best of British hospitality'," Inose recalled.

"I spoke to (London) Mayor Boris (Johnson) and he told me only 10 free bicycles had been stolen in London compared to Paris. Our law and order situation is very similar as is our level of hospitality."

A new 80,000-seat stadium is being built on the site of Tokyo's main 1964 Olympics venue and this will be given a 'test-run' when Japan hosts the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Tokyo was widely thought to have lost out to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Games because of a lack of public support. But Inose insisted that, following London, public support for a Games in Tokyo had increased significantly.

Tokyo is competing against Istanbul and Madrid for the right to stage the 2020 Games, with the IOC assembly set to decide between the three cities at a meeting in Buenos Aires on September 7.

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