Earthquake Topples Tokyo's Olympic Dreams For 2020

Tokyo will bow out of a bid for the 2020 Olympic Games allowing Japan to fully focus on rebuilding efforts to recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this month, according to reports.

On Sunday, the Japanese Ambassador to Italy told International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President Mario Pescante that a bid would not move forward.

Pescanted, in an interview on Italian radio said “the Japanese Ambassador was with me at the start of the Rome Marathon and told me with great regret that his country could not continue with Tokyo’s bid.”

Tokyo put together a competitive bid for the 2016 Games but finished third in IOC voting behind Rio de Janeiro and Madrid. It was expected Tokyo would bid again for the 2020 Games if PyeongChang, South Korea failed in its third attempt to host the Winter Olympics in 2018.

Last week in an open letter, Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) President Tsunekazu Takeda remained committed to the Olympic Movement.

“Fortunately enough the Metropolitan Government of Tokyo including the JOC headquarter-building and the venues of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games remains without any damage,” Takeda wrote.

“With this Olympic Legacy still strongly alive, we are determined to bring out the importance of the Olympic value.”

The deadline for National Olympic Committees to file their intentions to bid is May 16. Hiroshima in Japan had also been preparing to seek the national nomination to bid.

Rome is the only declared applicant for 2020 but other bids might come from Istanbul, Doha, Madrid, and a South African city – possibly Durban.

The IOC will elect the 2020 Olympic Host City September 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.