BUENOS AIRES, (Reuters) – Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympic Games yesterday, beating Istanbul in a head-to-head vote after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a charismatic plea to the IOC, saying Japan’s crippled nuclear plant was ‘under control’.
The Japanese won by a landslide, 60 votes to Istanbul’s 36. Abe, who left early from a Group of 20 summit in Russia to make his pitch at the meeting in Buenos Aires, promised the International Olympic Committee that concerns about the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant 230 km (140 miles) from Tokyo were unfounded.
Fixing the IOC members with a level gaze, he said: “It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo. There are no health-related problems until now, and nor will there be in the future — I make the statement to you in the most emphatic and unequivocal way.”
The plant’s operator has said hundreds of tonnes of radioactive water are pouring into the Pacific Ocean each day, and radiation levels have spiked.
Abe’s government said this week it will spend almost half a billion dollars to try to fix the water crisis and yesterday he told the IOC: “Let me assure you the situation is under control.”