2020 Games: Tokyo celebrates after winning race to host Olympics
The Japanese and its sporting stars have expressed their elation after Tokyo was announced as the Olympic host in 2020.
Last Updated: 08/09/13 6:55pm
After years of arduous campaigning, there was relief, ecstasy and tears as several TV channels beamed the result live at 5:20 am local time from Buenos Aires that the Japanese capital had beaten off the challenges of Madrid and Istanbul.
"It is like a dream that Tokyo will host the Olympics," four-time Olympic swimming champion Kosuke Kitajima told NHK. "I hope the event will give children a chance to dream."
At Komazawa Olympic Park in the south of Tokyo, which served as a venue for several sports at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, golden tinsel rained down at the moment of decision.
Earlier on Saturday, a tie-break had Madrid eliminated by four votes to set up a final round between Istanbul and Tokyo - with the Japanese city finally emerging triumphant after polling 60 votes to 36.
Three-time Olympic women's 55kg wrestling champion Saori Yoshida, whose sport may be scrapped from the 2020 Games, said she cried on hearing the news.
"I am really pleased that Japan pulled together," she said.
Tokyo bid chief Tsunekazu Takeda added: "I have been waiting a long time for this feeling. The members of the IOC have seen that Tokyo is a safe pair of hands."
Tokyo city governor Naoki Inose added that the Olympics would help Japan recover from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that claimed more than 18,000 lives and vowed no let up to create what he said would be "the best Games ever".
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had earlier flown to South America from the G20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia, to reassure nervous members about the safety of the nuclear plant some 220 kilometres (140 miles) from Tokyo amid fears about the leaking of contaminated water.
He told delegates that the situation was "under control", adding: "It has never done or will do any damage to Tokyo."
There had been huge doubts over the Tokyo bid concerning Fukushima and not everybody in Japan was thrilled with the prospect of hosting the Games. One man in Fukushima city told NHK: "I'm struggling with things today, rather than things in seven years time."
There were understandably contrasting emotions in Spain and Turkey, although Istanbul's governor was magnanimous.
"Today we showed that we were a serious candidate," Huseyin Avni Mutlu said. "I do not believe that we have lost. We are a people who love competition, we will continue to try."