TOKYO, April 20, 2009 (AFP) - Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara has no illusions after the city spent three million dollars (4.51 million Singapore dollars) to host experts from the International Olympic Committee inspecting its bid for the 2016 Summer Games.
The 13-member IOC evaluation commission on Sunday wound up a four-day inspection of Tokyo's plan to organise the "most compact and greenest Olympics."
"Although I have expectations, it is quite hard for me to read it," said Ishihara, summing up what Tokyo could now expect from some 100 IOC members who will choose the 2016 host city on October 2.
But the novelist-turned-politician, who heads the Tokyo bid committee, said the cash-rich capital was "successful" in hosting the IOC team.
"It has given us the impetus to succeed in inviting the Olympics."
The commission, which has already visited Chicago, will soon travel to Rio de Janeiro and Madrid then draw up a report for IOC members.
In Tokyo, they held detailed discussions on 17 themes - including transport, accommodation, technology, environment, finance, security and venues - with financial guarantees looming large amid the global downturn.
The team also toured proposed Olympic venues, 95 of which will be within an eight-kilometre (five-mile) radius, and even met citizens opposed to the bid, who claim it is all about construction projects in the name of the Games.
"We are very pleased to be here in this dynamic city of Tokyo where sports play such a huge place in people's lives," Nawal El Moutawakel, head of the evalution commission, said on Sunday at her only meeting with media.
"We have been most impressed to find what Tokyo could offer to the Olympic Games."
But the Moroccan IOC executive board member used identical lines in praising Chicago's bid, except for calling the US city "vibrant." She refused to compare Chicago and Tokyo, as is policy, and spoke in apparently diplomatic and neutral language.
She acknowleged Tokyo's financial strength as it has already reserved 3.7 billion dollars for construction of venues and infrastructure and secured financial guarantees from the central government to cover any budget shortfall.
"We have been given assurances regarding financial aspects, which we are going to study carefully," she said.
"Good luck, Tokyo," added an ever-smiling El Moutawakel.
For 2016, Tokyo plans to build a 100,000-seat main stadium on a landfill site at the waterfront. Around 70 percent of the venues will be within a 10-minute ride of the athletes' village.
On the theme of environmental protection, the stadium will be partly covered by a canopy of solar power cells, while the equestrian, rowing and cycling venues will be set on a forested islet built on heaps of garbage.
"Tokyo has exceeded the pass marks in core points" such as compactness and financial guarantees, the influential newspaper Asahi Shimbun said.
It added though that Japan must now lobby IOC members despite its lack of "diplomatic clout."
The four cities will present their plans when the IOC holds an executive board meeting in mid-June. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, a former Olympic clay target shooter, entertained the commission twice during its visit. But he faces a general election to be held by September.
"We have no choice but to do our best through personal contacts and human relations cultivated by members of the Japanese Olympic Committee," Ishihara said.