The Associated Press reports that Tokyo’s bid for the 216 Summer Olympic Games faces a major obstacle. Only 59 per cent of Tokyo residents support the bid, compared to higher resident support for the other three finalists – Madrid with 90 per cent public support, Rio de Janeiro at 77 per cent and Chicago with 74 per cent of residents supporting its bid.
There is also some opposition from Tokyo’s city hall. Assemblywoman Yoshiko Fukushi told the Associated Press, “the Games cost too much money and they destroy the environment. Maybe there was meaning back in 1964 (when Tokyo hosted the Games) when the economic effects were positive”.
Fukushi says rather than splurging on another Olympics Tokyo needs to save for the future and prepare for an aging society.
City officials say the Games will help revitalize Japan’s economy and generate revenue for the city from broadcasting rights, ticket sales, licensing fees for Olympic merchandise and corporate sponsorships. They estimate the cost of the bid itself is $48 million and $3.5 billion for venues and infrastructure, reports the Associated Press.
Ichiro Kono, chairman of Tokyo 2016 said there is still time to win over the public. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is selecting the 2016 host city in October 2009.
“We have to get down to serious business so people will get excited about the Games” said Tokyo’s Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who is spearheading and bid.
Tokyo officials say their proposal highlights the needs of an urbanized nation, such as protecting the environment, taking care of the elderly and teaching character to youngster through sports.
Tadao Ando, a star Japanese architect, is developing an ecology-conscious design for the Games including planting a forest on a garbage dump in Tokyo Bay.