Olympics: Expert says Tokyo roads could handle Games

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 06 2013 04:15 PM | Updated as of Mar 07 2013 12:15 AM

Tokyo's transport networks would easily be good enough to host the 2020 Olympics, an expert said Wednesday, pledging no new roadbuilding if Japan wins the event.

"We won't build anything in particular for the Olympics," an urban planning expert said after briefing a team from the International Olympic Committee who are scrutinising bids by Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul for the 2020 event.

"I explained that transport facilities, being steadily built under Tokyo's various long-term plans, will fully satisfy demand related to the Olympics," said Takayuki Kishii, a professor of engineering at Tokyo's Nihon University.

He said three new ring roads in the capital will be almost completed in a few years and a projected motorway will run by a waterfront site for the athletes' village.

Infrastructure is seen as a major factor in the selection of Olympic hosts.

The IOC gave the 2016 Summer Games to Rio de Janeiro, making it the first South American Olympic host. But the Brazilian city is said to have been slow in finalising Olympic projects.

Istanbul, which could become the first Olympic city with a mainly Muslim population, needs to refurbish its infrastructure for the mega event using the proceeds of its rapid growth in recent years.

Tokyo is the only one of the three candidates which has previously hosted the Summer Games -- in 1964.

Kishii's briefing was part of presentations by the Tokyo bid committee on transportation and accommodation to the 14-member team from the IOC evaluation commission, led by IOC vice president Craig Reedie.

After a four-day inspection tour of Tokyo, the team will visit Madrid and Istanbul later this month. It will draw up a report on the three bids by July for the 101 IOC members who will choose the 2020 host on September 7.

Tokyo also said it has secured more than 46,000 hotel rooms for Olympic visitors, above the IOC criterion of 40,000.

The IOC inspectors are focusing on 14 themes that the bidding cities described in their candidature files last month and are inspecting existing and planned facilities for 2020.

The themes also include vision, finance, marketing, political and public support and security.

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