Tokyo Would Be an Inspirational Choice For Olympic Games, Abe Tells IOC
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Tokyo would be an inspirational choice to host the 2020 Olympic Games, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Olympic officials on Monday (March 4), with Japan keen to showcase its recovery from a devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Abe made sure that an inspection tour by an International Olympic Committee (IOC) team got off to a heavyweight start.

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SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (MARCH 4, 2013) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. VIEW OF PROPOSED VENUE FOR OLYMPIC VILLAGE 2. SIGN ON GROUND READING: "TOKYO 2020 CANDIDATE CITY" 3. VARIOUS OF MINIATURE MODELS OF OLYMPIC STADIUMS 4. VIEW OF PROPOSED VENUE FOR OLYMPIC STADIUMS 5. VARIOUS OF TABLET COMPUTER SHOWING IMAGINARY GRAPHICS OF PROPOSED OLYMPIC STADIUMS TOKYO, JAPAN (MARCH 4, 2013) (TOKYO 2020 BID COMMITTEE HANDOUT - MUST COURTESY "TOKYO 2020" / ACCESS ALL) 6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER AND TOKYO 2020 BID'S SUPREME ADVISOR, SHINZO ABE, SAYING: "Tokyo 2020 will inspire many others, just as I told you it did before in 1964." 7. PRESENTATION IN PROGRESS 8. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER AND TOKYO 2020 BID'S SUPREME ADVISOR, SHINZO ABE, SAYING: "(singing in Japanese and then translating in English what he just sang) Faster, higher, stronger -- the Olympic spirit was the same spirit with which Japan grew to its height." STORY: Tokyo would be an inspirational choice to host the 2020 Olympic Games, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Olympic officials on Monday (March 4), with Japan keen to showcase its recovery from a devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Abe made sure that an inspection tour by an International Olympic Committee (IOC) team got off to a heavyweight start. At stake are an estimated three trillion yen ($32 billion) in potential economic impact and the chance, Japanese officials say, to showcase Japan's recovery from the 2011 disaster in the way the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games highlighted the nation's return after its World War Two defeat. "Tokyo 2020 will inspire many others, just as I told you it did before in 1964," Abe, who has been appointed as the bid's supreme adviser, told the committee. The 1964 Games were the first Olympics to be held in Asia. Abe, in full promotional mode to host one of the biggest sports events in the world, sang an old song in the presentation he said was widely popular during the 1964 Olympics. "Faster, higher, stronger -- the Olympic spirit was the same spirit with which Japan grew to its height," he said referring to the translation of the Japanese lyrics. Tokyo, which lost the bid to host the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro, faces rivalry from Istanbul and Madrid this time around. Headed by IOC Vice President Craig Reedie the evaluation team arrived in Japan on Friday (March 1) to the cheers of flag-waving children. Their tour began formally on Monday with an explanation of the city's bid and a visit to several sites, including the waterfront area set to become the Olympic Village. In Tokyo's favour are the fact that many of its venues are already built. Tokyo planners also emphasize the compactness of its offer, with 85 percent of the venues located within an eight km (five mile) radius of the Olympic Village. In an attempt to ensure the economic spillover would also extend to areas struggling directly with the impact of the 2011 disaster, some soccer playoffs may be held in Miyagi prefecture, one of the regions hit hardest by the tsunami. Tokyo bid officials have acknowledged concerns about the potential for another earthquake but emphasize Japan's strict building codes, noting that there was minimal damage in Tokyo from the 9.0 magnitude 2011 quake. According to a poll by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily released at the weekend, 83 percent of respondents said they supported the bid, up from 72 percent in January 2012. Those against the bid fell to 12 percent from 22 percent. The final decision will be made in September in Buenos Aires.