Tokyo sees growth with 2020 Olympic hosting


TOKYO: Real-estate markets will boom and Tokyo Bay will be redeveloped if the Japanese capital wins the right to host the 2020 Olympics, a senior business leader told investors Wednesday.

Toyota Motor Honorary Chairman Fujio Cho said the busy city would become even livelier if the sporting extravaganza came to town.

“It’s certain that real-estate markets will be quite active” if Tokyo’s bid is successful, he told members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

“Without doubt, the Tokyo Bay area will be redeveloped on a large scale,” he said.

“In terms of road-building, there are many places where ring roads are not complete just because of small sections that have not yet been constructed,” Cho added.

“If the Olympics are to be hosted here, I think there will be a big boost in morale among Japanese people, which will enable the construction and completion of such projects,” he further said.

Tokyo is competing with Istanbul and Madrid for the right to stage the Games, with the final decision set to be made by the 100-strong International Olympic Committee (IOC) at a meeting in Buenos Aires on September 7.

While many large Asian cities are throbbing with construction projects as their economies surge, there are few cranes standing over the Japanese capital these days.

The investment boost that hosting the Olympics could bring would be a welcome fillip for Japan, whose economy has struggled for much of the last two decades.

It would also dovetail well with a renewed push by the government to turn things around, with lavish public spending promised for infrastructure projects.

Tokyo is the only one of the three candidate cities to have previously hosted the Games, in 1964. It has promised to be a “safe pair of hands” with such advantages as financial strength, potential marketing and sponsorship opportunities and established infrastructure.

“I hope the younger generation can feel the prosperous future I had experienced in 1964,” said Cho, who joined Toyota from university a few years before Tokyo hosted the Games.

Cho said that his salary had risen considerably since that time “but recently the salaries of young people are not going up.”

“I hope the Olympics come here, and together with ‘Abenomics’, the salaries of young people will rise,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy aimed at kickstarting the economy.

Istanbul has emphasized its role as a city with a foot in both Asia and Europe, but anti-government protests there in recent months have cast a cloud over its bid.

Madrid, despite general worries over the plight of the Spanish economy, won universal praise from IOC members when the three cities presented their bids.



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