March 8, 2006

Tokyo approves bid for 2016 Games

By Isabel Reynolds

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo formally joined the race to host
the Olympics for a second time on Wednesday after the city's
metropolitan assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution to bid
for the 2016 Games.

Last month, Sapporo followed Nagoya's earlier decision to
rule itself out of the running, leaving just the capital city
and Fukuoka, on the southern island of Kyushu, as the only two
cities in contention.

The Japanese Olympics Committee welcomed Tokyo's

"The JOC is delighted," committee chairman Tsunekazu Takeda
told reporters. "We would like Tokyo to do their best to
produce a wonderful plan."

The JOC is set to choose the country's official bid city in
August and Takeda is hoping to see a spirited competition.

"The aim is not to win domestically but to beat the
candidates from overseas. We look forward to seeing a
high-level bid," he added.

Japan last hosted the Summer Games in Tokyo in 1964.

"For Tokyo to host the Olympics again after half a century
would be an opportunity to demonstrate our strong desire for
world peace and it would also be a chance to create a mature,
safe and environmentally friendly city," the city's resolution
said, according to the Tokyo assembly's Web site.

Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, withdrew
citing the burden of raising around $2.1 billion of the
estimated total cost of $15.2 billion of hosting the Games.

The International Olympic Committee will choose the 2016
host city in 2009.