During the 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged on Saturday the support that the world gave Japan following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and vowed that such generosity will be repaid through the 2020 Summer Olympics, which Tokyo secured to host. Tokyo bid president and Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) member Tsunekazu Takeda also promised not to let the world down.
As Tokyo wins the bid to host the summer Olympics for the second time, the Japanese prime minister recalled the first and last Olympics Japan hosted. It was in 1964 and the young Abe was only 10 years old. He talked of how he was inspired to hope and dream. He also talked of the same hope the Japanese people were able to have after the great Tohoku earthquake through sports. “Japan needs hope and dreams and we are now looking forward to dreams and hopes. We will pay the debt of support we owe the world from the time of the tsunami,” Abe said.
The Liberal Democratic Party leader also recalled the athletes who “came to Japan and played with the kids,” causing everybody to have hope and courage. “Sport can mobilize people. That is the power shown exactly after the tsunami,” shared Abe, who admitted being overwhelmed when he heard Tokyo announced as the winning bidder for the 2020 Olympics. He added that the joy was greater compared to his first election as Japan’s prime minister.
Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose believes that being selected as host of the prestigious sports event will help Japan recover from the devastation of the 2011 tsunami. “By hosting the 2020 Tokyo Games, we will create hope,” Inose said. He also promised that Tokyo “will promote the Olympic Movement globally in an effort to create a ‘peaceful and better world.’” Inose assured that those who will come to Tokyo for the Olympics in 2020 will experience all that Japan’s capital has to offer. “Tokyo will be an environment where athletes can perform at their best, and we will offer guests from every corner of the world our excellent hospitality.”
Takeda also expressed confidence that the 2020 Olympics will be memorable because of public support. “The most recent public polls revealed that 92 percent of the Japanese population supported Tokyo’s hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.” The 66-year old JOC member expressed his gratefulness that Tokyo was chosen to host in 2020. “The Olympic Family has put its faith in our great city to deliver the memorable Games we have promised and we will not let them down.”