Buenos Aires, Argentina (4E Sports) – The International Olympic Committee picked the Tokyo over Istanbul and Madrid to host of the 2020 summer games.
The selection was conducted in a secret ballot by about 100 I.O.C. members gathered in Buenos Aires.
Japan was seen as the safest choice because of its experience organizing major events and its sense of economic security.
Tokyo’s bid came in at $5 billion to $6 billion, compared to $19 billion pledged by Istanbul. But the city government has already amassed a $4.9 billion Olympic fund to use in preparation of the games. A $1 billion national stadium that will be used for the athletic events and the Opening Ceremonies will already have been built for the rugby World Cup in 2017.
The city also boasts of plenty of hotel rooms and a dependable transportation system.
Japan pursued its bid having to deal with radiation leaking from the Fukushima nuclear plant, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe personally making a presentation to the committee and promising an effective cleanup.
Istanbul had been seen as a front-runner as it offered a transcontinental Games that would have straddled Europe and Asia, and also place the Olympics for the first time in a predominantly Muslim country.
But political stability was an issue as the police had to respond harshly to antigovernment protests there in June, which evolved into a wider movement against what critics called the autocratic style of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Madrid had been seen as another strong contender, but it had to address its battered economy, high unemployment rate and poor record on doping.
Tokyo’s bid was far from sure as the I.O.C. and FIFA, organizer of soccer’s World Cup, have in recent years pushed to awarding major events to cities or regions that had never played host.
Japan was the site of the 1964 Summer Games and twice hosted the Winter Games, more recently in Nagano in 1998, as well as co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South Korea.
Asia is also seen to have had its share of Olympic attention with the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing and the 2018 Winter Games to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.