Tokyo 2020 bid gains support

TOKYO -- A new poll by the IOC shows that public support for Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics has increased to 70 percent, up from 47 percent in May.

Tokyo bid leader Tsunekazu Takeda announced the new figures Tuesday on the second day of the IOC evaluation committee's visit to inspect the Japanese capital's plans for the games.

"It demonstrates Tokyo's unmatched passion for sport and desire to host the2020 Games," Takeda said. "I think the record showing by Japanese athletes at last summer's London Olympics have helped inspire the increased numbers in the survey."

IOC vice president Craig Reedie is leading the visit, which will be followed by trips later this month to Madrid and Istanbul, the other two cities vying to host the Olympics. The IOC will select the host city by secret ballot at its session in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7.

At the same point in Tokyo's unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympics in 2009, an IOC poll showed 56 percent of residents in favor of hosting the games.

Takeda was unable to provide a timeline on when the latest survey was taken and said the methodology would be included in the IOC evaluation commission's final report in July.

The IOC panel visited the current national stadium on Tuesday along with Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium and the Tokyo International Forum. The national stadium will be the site of a new 80,000-seat venue that would host the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics if Tokyo wins the bid.

At the gymnasium, the proposed venue for table tennis, the commission members spoke with Olympian Ai Fukuhara, who took on IOC member and FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann in a friendly game.

"I hope the Olympics will come to Tokyo," Fukuhara said. "Japan is a country with good teamwork and is bright and forward-looking."