The City of Sapporo and the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) will launch a new committee next month aimed at promoting the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid.
Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto revealed plans Wednesday to establish the Hokkaido-Sapporo 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Promotion Committee with the intent to reach the business and sports communities and foster greater understanding of the project. Japan’s Winter Games bid comes on the heels of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games that were held behind closed doors in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sapporo hosted its first Winter Games in 1972 and Nagano last hosted the event in Japan in 1998.
Japan’s escalation of the Sapporo bid has been made possible by positive results from a recent survey that showed the project is popular among residents with as many as 58 percent in support of staging the Games. Last month officials said the results of the multi-platform survey were strong enough that no referendum should be necessary to present the bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Still, the Mayor announced his intentions to continue to address any concerns with the project and intends to use the new committee to help.
Mayor Akimoto told reporters Wednesday according to NHK “I would like to take seriously the fact that there are a certain number of opposition voices and continue to explain the anxieties and concerns that those who answered opposition have.”
The IOC has not established a timeline for the election of the 2030 Winter Games host but it is believed a winner could be named early next year. The Japanese city will face competition from a strong bid from Salt Lake City in the United States that enjoys more that 80 percent public support in recent polling. Vancouver in Canada is also investigating a possible bid and earlier this week its city council voted against a possible ballot question over the project. A regional Pyrenees-Barcelona bid in Spain will have its fate decided by a June 24 referendum.
All four bids represent regions that have hosted one Winter or Summer Games previously.
The next Winter Games will be staged in Milan-Cortina Italy in 2026.