TOKYO, Japan, January 28. JAPANESE Prime Minister Taro Aso delivered a major policy speech to the lower house of parliament today in which he officially pledged his support for bringing the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games to Tokyo.
The move provides resounding affirmation that the nation's administration is fully behind the effort to inspire both Japan and the world in times of economic uncertainty by organizing a unique celebration of human achievement and cultural interaction in the heart of dynamic Tokyo.
The news adds further momentum to Tokyo 2016's groundswell of support spanning every echelon of Japanese society, from elite athletes to private enterprise and from government to citizens of all ages.
Dr Ichiro Kono, Chairman and CEO of Tokyo 2016, said:
"We are extremely grateful for the ardent support of our Olympian Prime Minister on behalf of the citizens of Japan. The backing of Prime Minister Aso's administration is further proof that Japanese society is solidly in favor of our 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games Bid.
"The Japanese business community is also enthusiastically behind Tokyo 2016, and the passionate support of the general public continues to intensify day by day. As we near the deadline for submitting our unique Candidature File to the IOC, we are extremely proud to enjoy such strong support and deep financial backing."
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government recently announced the allocation of an additional 100 billion yen (US$1.1 billion) for Tokyo 2016 in its proposed 2009 fiscal budget, bringing its ring-fenced contingency fund for Games preparation, including construction and maintenance of city-owned venues and infrastructure, to 400 billion yen (US$4.4 billion).
Special thanks to Tokyo 2016 for contributing this report.