March 24, 2006 – Tokyo is making a head start bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics, following Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012, hoping to restore some of the glory of Japan’s first Games according to an AFP report. Japan, which is emerging from a decade-long economic slump, has become the first nation to formally inform the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of its candidacy for the 2016 Games which won’t be decided until mid-2009. It has set aside 100 billion yen ($850 million dollars) for the 2006-2007 financial year as reserves for the 2016 Olympics. If Japan wins the 2016 bid the Summer Olympics would be staged there a half century after the 1964 Games sparked the country’s path to economic success.
The Games would be something of a coup because although Japan hosted two Winter Games, first in Sapporo (1972) and then in Nagano (1998), it lost its Summer Games bids twice to emerging Asian neighbours. With weak entries, the Japanese bids lost to Seoul by 52-27 for the 1988 edition and Japan’s second city of Osaka spent four billion yen campaigning for 2008 only to win six out of a possible 102 votes. Japan is expected to compete against New York and Madrid, among others, for the 2016 Games.