While bookmakers continue to pick Tokyo as the frontrunner in the race to host the 2020 Olympics, the press conference held in Buenos Aires on Wednesday saw a lot of questions raised over how the ongoing crisis in Fukushima would have any effect their bid. The International Olympics Committee will be making its decision on Saturday over whether it will be Tokyo, Istanbul or Madrid.
Japan’s Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda insisted Tokyo will not be affected by the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and that there is nothing to worry about. However, he admits that he wrote a personal letter to each member of the IOC just to reassure them that there will be no direct effect over the radioactive water leak from the plant. He also stated that Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has personally said the government will take over dealing with the problem. “I am not worried about the Tokyo 2020 bid,” emphasized Takeda.
But as the meeting went on, Takeda became obviously frustrated that all questions were about Fukushima. He repeatedly said that there is no radiation problem in Tokyo because there are 250 kilometers separating the two locations. He also revealed that the Abe himself will be talking about the issue during their final presentation and reassure the IOC that there is no danger to any food in Tokyo. The Fukushima issue overshadowed the strategy of Tokyo’s 2020 bid committee to use Kirobo, Japan’s robot astronaut, as the highlight of their press conference. The robot appeared on-screen with a Tokyo 2020 pin, giving his support from outer space with a banner saying, ‘a robot took a small step for a future for us all’.