The vote to determine the host of the 2020 Olympic Games is less than one year away, and Tokyo's chances of landing the event "could slip away in the wake of Japan's ongoing involvement in island disputes with South Korea, China, Russia and Taiwan," according to Gallagher & Odeven of THE JAPAN TIMES. It is an old cliche to say that "every vote counts," but in determining Olympic hosts that is exactly the case, "and the stakes could not be higher." In the past, the host city has often been determined "by five votes or fewer." The "ongoing fiery rhetoric with other countries in the region could jeopardize Tokyo's bid to host the Olympics" for the first time since '64. The vote to determine the site for the 2020 Games will be held in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, "who was the face of the capital's failed bid to host the 2016 Games," is now at the forefront of the dispute over the Senkaku Islands. When questioned about whether the problems with regional neighbors could result in Tokyo losing the election, Ishihara said, "I don't have much (concern)." Ishihara blamed Taiwanese IOC member Wu Ching-kuo for being anti-Japanese, which is a "perfect example" of why the 2020 bid organizers have made former Mizuno Chair Masato Mizuno the new face of Tokyo's effort (THE JAPAN TIMES, 9/12).
A senior IOC official revealed that leading sponsors will "not be allowed to advertise their brands at Olympic venues" as they could when the sites were used for the Paralympics, according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. IOC Dir General Christophe De Kepper said the 11 global sponsors of the Games were happy with the "clean venue" policy. In other words, no company logos are visible around the edges of the track or poolside. Speaking at a Sport Integrity Symposium at the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris De Kepper said, "They are all adamant that this is part of the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and so there is no discussion for the moment at the IOC of reviewing that policy." The conference brought together figures from the worlds of sport, government and law enforcement to "discuss measures to clean up sport and in particular to curb match-fixing." In an initiative led by the Qatar Olympic Committee and ICSS, former Juventus player Alessandro del Piero was chosen to head a panel of 11 athletes helping to "educate youngsters about the risks of getting dragged into manipulating results" (REUTERS, 9/11).