Tokyo can guarantee "quality and safety" if it hosts the 2020 Olympic Games, the city's bid chief said on Tuesday.
Masato Mizuno, chief executive officer of the Tokyo 2020 bid committee, demurred from commenting specifically on the rival bids of Istanbul and Madrid, which is forbidden under International Olympic Committee rules. However, he noted that Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 Games, was running "very, very late" in preparing for next year's World Cup.
The Brazil World Cup organizers announced on Monday that a stadium to be used in June for the Confederations Cup — a warmup event for the World Cup — won't be ready on time.
"More and more IOC members want to be in safe hands, so we are emphasizing our strengths," said Mizuno, the heir to the Mizuno sports goods empire. "We can guarantee quality and safety."
Mizuno also emphasized Tokyo's strong financial position, its track record in hosting events without incident, and the mass transit system.
"Every train comes on time," he said, exaggerating only slightly.
Mizuno appealed to American and British executives attending a talk at the American Chamber of Commerce to help Tokyo's bid by reassuring people over issues like potential radiation risks from Japan's nuclear disaster.
Tokyo hosted the games in 1964 and views the 2020 event as an opportunity to revitalize the city, whose entire metropolitan area is home to some 35 million people. It estimates the Games will create 150,000 jobs and bring in an extra $30 billion US in business.
Like countless others involved in sports, Mizuno expressed condolences to victims of the explosions that marred the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people and injuring at least 140 others.
"Tokyo is one of the safest cities," he said. Should Tokyo win its bid, "We would do our best to prevent any wrongdoing."
The 2020 hosting rights will be decided in September by the International Olympic Committee.