Tokyo was named host city of the 2020 Olympic Games on Sunday, with athletes and officials jumping up and down and hugging after the announcement was made at 5.30 a.m. local time.
Aside from being happy, many Japanese were surprised as well, as they feared Japan’s recent problems at Fukushima nuclear power plant had scuppered the city’s bid.
“I am so happy!” said Toshiko Hasegawa, a freelance writer. “Japan has been in an economic slump; I am hoping this will jump start the economy,” she added. “Since the earthquake and the tsunami, tourism had dropped.”
Takamune Tani, an office worker, said “I was surprised. I thought maybe Japan would not win,” according to the international press.
Tokyo has won the competition against the other two rival cities, Istanbul and Madrid, due to its intention of investing billions of dollars in the event and due to its previous experience, as the city has already hosted the summer games in 1964, as well as the winter games in Nagano in 1998.
Hosting the 2020 games could create more than 150,000 jobs, according to some estimates.
“The Games of the 32nd Olympiad in 2020 are awarded to the city of … ,” IOC president Jacques Rogge said as he opened the envelope in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Tokyo.”
“In most competitions, if you don not win a gold medal, you can also win maybe a bronze one,” Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose said after the announcement. “In this battle, there was only the gold.”