Olympics-Tokyo tiptoes into 2020 bid race

TOKYO, July 15 Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:18am EDT

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TOKYO, July 15 (Reuters) - Once-bitten Tokyo shyly tiptoed into the bidding race for the 2020 Olympics, with Japanese officials on Friday saying they had an obligation to apply.

"We have a responsibility and an obligation to meet the expectations placed upon us," Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) chief Tsunekazu Takeda told a symposium to mark the 100th anniversary of the JOC.

"We must bring the Olympics back to Japan."

Takeda stopped short of formally announcing Tokyo's latest bid, after losing out to Rio de Janeiro in the race to host the 2016 Games.

However, he is expected to inform International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge of Tokyo's ambitions at a press conference on Saturday.

Tokyo hosted Asia's first Olympics in 1964.

"Unfortunately we were unsuccessful in our 2016 bid but since then we have been doing everything we can to prepare for 2020," said Takeda.

"I am not able to formally declare our bid at this moment, but we believe the Olympics will help boost the recovery and reconstruction of Japan."

Tokyo's 2020 ambitions were dealt a severe blow by the deadly earthquake and tsunami in March which also triggered a nuclear meltdown at a power plant 150 miles north of the city.

Takeda is expected to make Tokyo's plans official following a centennial event on Saturday attended by both the Japanese Emperor and Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Rome was the first to officially register its 2020 bid with several other cities now gradually showing interest.

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by Mark Meadows. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com) Double-click on the newslinks: for more Olympics stories

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