Tokyo's Summer Olympics bid to include quake-hit areas


A man cycles past debris that is being removed by heavy machinery, three months and two days after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on June 13, 2011 in Natori, Miyagi, Japan. Tokyo is expected to bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, and would include the hard-hit prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima.


Kiyoshi Ota

A bid by Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympics would include regions devastated by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami and nuclear crises, as a symbol of national recovery, according to the Japanese Olympic Committee.

While Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, hasn’t yet formally announced a bid, it is expected to do so soon. Plans for the Summer Games would include Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi — the three prefectures hardest hit by the disasters — as hosts for various events such as soccer.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the Japan Olympic Committee chief, said he wants the 2020 Summer Games to be a “symbol of recovery” for Japan, the Associated Press reports.

"We want to help rehabilitate Japan through sports," Takeda told the AP.

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Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara has also talked about his city’s ambitions to host the Summer Olympics as a boost to Japan’s recovery.

An estimated 20,000 people died in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Fukushima, which has seen an extended crisis at its nuclear plant, is 141 miles north of Tokyo.

National Olympic committees have until September 1 to submit bids to host the 2020 Games, and the host city will be chosen in Buenos Aires in September 2013.

Tokyo lost out to Rio de Janeiro in a previous bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Jacques Rogge, head of the International Olympic Committee, recently said that Tokyo would be a “very strong candidate” to host the 2020 Games, according to a report by Japan’s Kyodo news agency.