Organisers of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics said Tuesday public support for their campaign had risen to 77 percent as IOC inspectors continued a fact-finding tour of three candidate cities.
The support rate was up four points from January, the Tokyo bid committee said, citing its own telephone surveys. The rate started at 58 percent in July last year. A team from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation commission visited Tokyo from March 4-7 to scrutinise the bid and inspect existing and planned facilities for the Games.
The team was due to end its four-day visit to Istanbul on Wednesday after a similar trip to Madrid last week. The IOC inspection tour "enhanced public understanding of our bid activities and led to a rise in the support rate", a statement said.
According to recent surveys by the IOC itself, public support was 70 percent for Tokyo, 76 percent for Madrid and 83 percent for Istanbul. Tepid public support was seen as a reason for Tokyo's failure to secure the the 2016 summer Games won by Rio de Janeiro.
The 100-plus IOC members will vote to choose the 2020 host city in Buenos Aires on September 7 after studying a technical report by the commission on the three bids. In another publicity blitz timed to coincide with the IOC team's visit to Istanbul, the Tokyo bid committee said US sprint and long jump legend Carl Lewis has endorsed the Japanese city's bid.
"It's always wonderful to be back in Japan and I wish them the best of luck because I think they will put on a tremendous Games," the nine-time Olympic and eight-time world gold medallist said on Monday, according to a statement from the committee. "I will be at the 2020 Games wherever it is, and I hope it's here."