Tokyo received the honor of being chosen as the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, beating out Istanbul and Madrid in a vote in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7. The Japanese capital won a majority of the final International Olympic Committee votes with a comfortable margin of 60-36 and will become the first Asian city to host the Games twice.
The motto of the Tokyo campaign is, “the Olympics will be safe in our hands.”
“I shall take the responsibility to implement programs to render this situation completely problem-free and I say that most emphatically and unequivocally,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe concerning doubts over the safety of Japan due to the effects of the Fukushima explosion.
The plant, located only 150 miles away from the capital, has been leaking radiation ever since an earthquake and tsunami caused its explosion in 2011. Despite fears of the safety of the Games and the athletes, Abe continues to affirm that, “[Fukushima] has never done, and never will do, any damage to Tokyo.”
An unstable political situation is what forced Istanbul, an ancient capital and the largest city in Turkey, out of contention. The troubles of its neighbor Syria and the possibility of military action against Bashar al-Assad threaten the safety of the Games, and Turkish athletes have a history of scandals involving performance-enhancing drugs.
As for Madrid, Spain’s weak economy was considered to be a risk for the IOC. Although Madrid’s bid was the least expensive of the three bids in contention, the economic crisis in Spain and the nation’s 27% unemployment rate were deciding factors despite Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s insistence that, “Madrid has perhaps the most reasonable and responsible financial foundation in recent Olympic history.”
Besides the assured safety of the Games, Tokyo boasts a flourishing economy, a stable political climate, and a flawless record of athletes passing Olympic and Paralympic drug tests.
Tokyo’s Olympics will follow the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the 2018 Winter Oylmpics in Pyeongchang, Korea.