Tokyo 2020, the Japanese capital in the running to host the Olympic Games in that year, claimed today that public support in the city for the bid is continuing to increase, with results of a new poll showing that 73 per cent of Tokyo residents, around 10 million people, now support the campaign.
Public support for the bid has been regarded by some as Tokyo 2020's Achilles’ heel, but the bid committee said that the new poll confirms that the goal to host the Olympics "has captured the hearts of its citizens, with some three out of every four now in favour."
It continued: "The bid's continuously growing public support is underpinned by Japan's unmatched passion for sport and its desire to deliver a dynamic celebration in the world's most forward-thinking city."
Last November, Tokyo 2020 said support among the capital's residents had reached 67 per cent, up from 47 per cent in a survey conducted by the International Olympic Committee in late May 2012, a figure that rose to 58 per cent in the bid committee’s own survey shortly before the start of the London 2012 Olympics in late July, and then 66 per cent shortly after the games.
Tsunekazu Takeda, president of both the Japanese Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020, said: "We know public support was a challenge for us last time, and so we are delighted by this very strong result. It is especially significant that a large number of our passionate supporters are young people, showing that the future is bright for the Olympic movement in Japan.
"The Japanese are enthusiastic fans of sport and they love the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They also understand, as recent surveys indicate, that hosting the Games in Tokyo in 2020 would have long-term benefits for Japanese sport, society, the economy and the environment."
Tokyo 2020 also cited a separate poll, taken by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper on January 11 and 13, which found that national support for the bid has risen to 78 per cent. That independent poll also revealed that 83 per cent of Japan's citizens in their 20s and 30s support the bid.
Tokyo is competing against Istanbul and Madrid to stage the games, with the IOC due to select the host city in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 7.