Japanese PM Noda to support Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid

By the Associated Press | November 24, 2011 | 3:50 AM EST

TOKYO (AP) — The head of the Japanese Olympic Committee says Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has agreed to be a top adviser to a panel supporting Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda said Thursday that Noda was asked to assume the post and for the government to give its full support to the bid.

Noda accepted the request and was quoted by Takeda as saying, "Let us do our best to make this bid a success," Kyodo new agency reported.

Tokyo, which campaigned for the 2016 Olympics but lost out to Rio de Janeiro, is up against Doha, Qatar; Istanbul, Turkey; Madrid; and Rome. The IOC will select the host city in September 2013.

The panel will support Tokyo's 2020 bid committee, which is headed by Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara.

In its bid to land the 2016 Games, Tokyo had an estimated $176 million budget but the bid suffered from a lack of public support and was eliminated in the second round of voting.

Tokyo is promoting its 2020 bid to be a symbol of Japan's recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing on Japan's northeast coast.

The JOC has said if Tokyo wins the right to host the 2020 games, regions affected by the earthquake, tsunami and the ensuing nuclear crises, could host some events such as soccer.