Greece has "offered its support" to regional rival Turkey’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, according to the AP. The prime ministers of both countries "signed an agreement pledging to cooperate" on Istanbul’s latest bid for the Games. The accord was signed by Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan and Greek PM Antonis Samaras. The agreement said the two sides will “explore ways of enhancing the benefits of the Olympics for the two countries as well as for the entire Balkan and Black Sea region” if Istanbul wins the bid (AP, 3/5).
British Olympic Association President Sebastian Coe said that the ability of Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid "to provide a convincing reason why they want to stage the Olympic Games and not just prove that they can will be the key to winning the right to host the 2020 edition," according to REUTERS. Coe said that mapping out an attractive "Games legacy" would be crucial to gaining the backing of IOC members at a vote in Buenos Aires in September. Coe: "People get focused on the how but being able to explain to people why you are doing this is really important. Why does a city really want to deliver a Games and what do they want to do with it? That's what I think IOC members want to hear." An evaluation commission "began in Tokyo this week." Madrid is next, from March 18 to 21, followed by Istanbul from March 24 to 27 "before the commission publishes a technical assessment at the beginning of July" (REUTERS, 3/5).
RISING SUPPORT: In Tokyo, Jack Gallagher reported public support for Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games "has risen" to 70% in the nation’s capital, the IOC informed the local organizing committee on Tuesday. The figure released represents an increase of 23% "over a survey taken by the IOC in May 2012." Tokyo 2020 bid President Tsunekazu Takeda stated that "the IOC’s numbers showed nationwide the approval rate stands" at 67% (JAPAN TIMES, 3/6). KYODO's Dave Hueston wrote that Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday "promised the financial backing of the Japanese government for Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics." Citing the approval of a record-high 92.61T yen ($990B) general account budget for fiscal 2013, Suga said, "There will be no problems financially. That we guarantee." He also stressed that "the government is prepared to provide money for the burgeoning security expenses that the city inevitably would have to shoulder in order to host the Games" (KYODO, 3/5).
READY TO CHIP IN: The STAR reported Toyota Motor Corporation President Fujio Cho, said that "Japan's corporate giants are ready to chip in for another Summer Olympics in Tokyo in hopes the Games will provide the same economic boost as the 1964 edition." Despite years of deflation that has forced big Japanese companies to reduce sports sponsorships, Cho said that Japan Inc. "would bring plenty to the table." Cho: "If Tokyo gets the 2020 Olympics, I believe businesses will become sponsors and support them. The Japanese economy soared very quickly after 1964. I don't think it will do quite the same again but I have no doubt it will provide a boost" (THE STAR, 3/5).