Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara resigned his position Thursday to start his own national political party.
He told a news conference, “as of today, I will resign as Tokyo governor. I’m planning to return to national politics. I want to do so by forming a new party with my associates”.
While admitting his surprise at the resignation, Japanese Olympic Committee head Tsunekazu Takeda did not think it would affect Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. He said, “to be honest, I never thought (Ishihara) would resign. I don’t think this will have major impact (on the bid)”.
Takeda added, “Governor Ishihara has demonstrated strong leadership for Tokyo’s Olympic and Paralympic aspirations ever since Tokyo’s race for the 2016 Games, and he has been a fervent supporter of Tokyo’s efforts to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games as well.
“Tokyo’s bid is supported by every different level of the Japanese society, from local and national governments, to the sport community and across all business sectors.
“We are confident that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will continue providing support for the bid and that Governor Ishihara’s resignation will have no impact on our campaign. With his enthusiasm remaining with us, Tokyo 2020’s bid effort remains focused on providing the best possible stage for athletes. Over the next 11 months, we will continue to work closely with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to win the right to host the 2020 Games”.
Kyodo News reports that Ishihara hoped that Vice Gov. Naoki Inose, a reform-minded journalist, will succeed him as Tokyo leader. But if a new governor is sceptical of the bid, it could be jeopardized, reports Kyodo.
Takeda said, “we will tell the next governor of the necessity of the bid and continue our activities”.
Tokyo 2020 will be inspected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) March 4-7, 2013, and the host city of the 2020 Games will be elected September 7.
Madrid and Istanbul are competing with Tokyo for the 2020 Games.