Tokyo intends to submit a bid to host the 2020 Olympics, the city's governor Shintaro Ishihara said on Sunday. The announcement comes as the rest of the country is still trying to recover from March's massive earthquake and tsunami and avoid slipping further into crisis over the Fukushima nuclear reactor. But Ishihara made clear that he feels hosting the Olympics would play a big part in helping Japan recover from disaster.
"Although they (the 2020 Games) are nine years from now, we can start raising our hand now," said Ishihara. "If we will work hard with hopes for nine years ahead, it will be a big catalyst for our country's reconstruction and revival."
Ishihara made the announcement shortly after winning a fourth term as city governor. In 2009 he oversaw a failed bid for the 2016 games, the bid having cost over 15 billion yen. The failure is viewed as one of the major black marks of his 12 years as city governor.
Cities interested in hosting the 2020 games must have their bids into the International Olympic Committee by September 1. Berlin, Busan, Cape Town, Doha, Rome and Istanbul are some of the other cities that have expressed their interest. The IOC will make its decision in September 2013.
Granted, Japan has proven itself quite adept at recovering from tragedy, but as Ishihara says, the 2020 Olympics are only nine years away. At the very least, it seems like Tokyo might have its hands full already during the two year bidding process.