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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9  > Sapporo should ‘withdraw’ from Winter Games bid
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2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Sapporo should ‘withdraw’ from Winter Games bid

December 20, 2023
Sapporo Mayor Akimoto Katsuhiro has announced that Sapporo City will “suspend” its attempt to join in bidding for the Winter Olympics. He used the term “suspend”. This is arousing controversy since the term leaves room for a possible future bid.

France and the United States will host the Winter Olympics in 2030 and 2034, respectively. Switzerland has had a negotiating mandate with the IOC for the 2038 Games.

Sources close to the city government said that Sapporo’s unsuccessful bidding campaign was because they were so concerned about the total cost and corruption issues that they could not sufficiently explain the significance of Sapporo’s role to be a host city. Was that really the case?

Sapporo had its sights on the “promotion of a redesigned Sapporo” such as the upgrading of urban infrastructure. They intended to take advantage of the Olympic bid campaign to promote its large development projects, including the extension of the bullet train Hokkaido Shinkansen line.

They placed much value on large development projects, failing short of focusing on the significance and role of the Olympics. They did not have anything to explain, and so they could not explain about the significance.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games resulted in a doubling of the anticipated cost. In addition, bribery and bid-rigging scandals came to surface. Many Sapporo citizens voiced their concern that Sapporo could be ridden by corruption just like the Tokyo case. Many said that measures to support people’s livelihoods should come first before the Olympics.

Reportedly, Sapporo decided to “suspend” its participation in Olympic bids because the JOC told Sapporo to still consider the possibility of a 2038 bid. However, it was the JOC itself which had increased public distrust. The JOC has yet to examine all problems and allegations pertaining to the holding of the Tokyo Games. Without a commitment to removing the people’s distrust, it should not irresponsibly advise Sapporo to keep trying to bid to be host city.

The Olympics without public support is out of the question. Sapporo should “withdraw” from its bid campaign, not just “suspend” for now.

Past related articles:
> Koike calls for probe into alleged use of Cabinet’s secret funds for 2020 Olympic bid [ November 22, 2023]
> Former Tokyo Olympic executive arrested for bribery [August 18, 2022]
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