BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP):
Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics yesterday, capitalising on its reputation as a "safe pair of hands" and defying concerns about the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Tokyo defeated Istanbul 60-36 in the final round of secret voting by the International Olympic Committee. Madrid was eliminated earlier after an initial tie with Istanbul.
Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, billed itself as the reliable choice at a time of global political and economic uncertainty - a message that resonated with the IOC.
"Tokyo can be trusted to be the safe pair of hands and much more," bid leader and IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda said in the final presentation. "Our case today is simple. Vote for Tokyo and you vote for guaranteed delivery. ... Tokyo is the right partner at the right time."
Tokyo had been on the defensive in the final days of the campaign because of mounting concerns over the leak of radioactive water from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
In the final presentation, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave the IOC assurances that the Fukushima leak was not a threat to Tokyo and took personal responsibility for keeping the games safe.
"Let me assure you the situation is under control," Abe said. "It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo."
IOC members have also been concerned about construction delays and other challenges plaguing preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Opting for certainty in 2020 was a key priority.
Even though it was 5 a.m. Sunday in Japan, about 1,200 dignitaries and Olympic athletes who crowded into a convention hall in downtown Tokyo celebrated the news. Cheers of "Banzai!" filled the hall when the announcement was made.
"It's a great, great honour," Takeda said. "I promise we will deliver everything we've promised for 2020."