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Tokyo To Host 2020 Olympics

  • RFE/RL

Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge announced that Tokyo would be the host of the 2020 Olympics.

Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge announced that Tokyo would be the host of the 2020 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has chosen Tokyo to host the 2020 summer Games.

Tokyo beat out Istanbul in the deciding vote September 7 at the IOC meeting in Buenos Aires.

The IOC said Tokyo won in a landslide, receiving 60 votes against 36 for Istanbul.

Tokyo was selected despite ongoing concerns about radioactive leaks from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which suffered serious damage in a 2011 earthquake.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said the Games will be in a “safe pair of hands” under the management of Japan, which has already set aside billions of dollars to organize the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.

Istanbul had advanced to the final round after winning over Madrid.

Istanbul’s defeat marks the fifth time that the city has lost a bid to host the Olympics.

Some analysts suggested that the violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Turkey in June may have damaged Istanbul’s chances. Threats posed by the war in neighboring Syria may also have raised concerns among IOC members.

It will be the second time that the Japanese capital will host the Games. Tokyo first hosted in 1964. The Japanese cities of Sapporo and Nagano have hosted winter Olympics.

The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro will be the host of the 2016 Olympics. Tokyo lost to Rio in the competition for those Games.

During their winning campaign, Japanese officials emphasized efforts to halt the leaks at the Fukushima reactor. The plant’s operator has said hundreds of tons of radioactive water are pouring into the Pacific Ocean each day.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking in Buenos Aires, said the crippled plant was "under control." He offered assurances the leaks would not affect Tokyo, located about 230 kilometers from the plant.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also traveled to Buenos Aires to present Istanbul's case for hosting the Games.

Erdogan noted that Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country that links Europe and Asia. He said the Olympics, if held in Turkey, could bring a message of peace to the Middle East.

"We as a nation have the means, potential, the desire and motivation to host the Games," Erdogan said. "I'd also like to point out that if the Olympic Games are hosted in Turkey, where the population is predominantly Muslim, this will send a very meaningful and strong message, not only to the world, but also to our broader region which so needs peace."

After Tokyo was selected, Erdogan expressed disappointment, saying, according to Turkish news reports: "It wasn't our fate.”

Based on reports from Reuters, dpa, AP and AFP