Japan guns for World Cups and Olympics
TOKYO - Undeterred by the global financial crisis, Japan is eager to host some of the world's biggest sports events over the coming years.
Japan is bidding to stage the 2015 rugby World Cup, the 2016 Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup in 2018 or 2022.
Tokyo's 2016 bid leaders say the city is best placed to survive the credit crunch and host a debt-free Games having already secured a contingency fund of $4,4 billion.
Vancouver's cash bailout to help developers complete the athletes' village for next year's Winter Olympics was the latest reminder of the potential problems for would-be host cities.
Japan is not immune. With the country slipping deeper into recession and the world's second-largest economy shrinking, Japanese companies have already pulled the plug on much of their motorsport activities.
But as a safety net the Japanese government has offered to cover any potential losses incurred by the Olympics.
"Cities without this sort of financial guarantees will struggle to get the Olympics so it's fantastic news," Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda told reporters.
Tokyo hosted Asia's first Olympics in 1964 and faces competition from Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro in the race to host the 2016 Games.
But Tokyo officials believe they have the financial muscle and technical know-how to win.
Many of the iconic venues constructed for the 1964 Olympics would be used again, along with a new 100000 capacity waterfront Olympic stadium if Tokyo wins the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote in October.
Success in that vote would trigger a formal bid from Japanese soccer officials for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup tournaments.
The hosts for both will be chosen in December next year.
New Fifa rules require World Cup host countries to build a stadium with a minimum capacity of 80000 for the opening game and final and the new Olympic Stadium would fit the Fifa requirement nicely.
By the end of July, Japan will have learnt whether it has won the right to host the rugby World Cup in 2015. - Reuters