BUENOS AIRES - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games as an opportunity to showcase Japan's rebound from a devastating earthquake, stressing the city must work to win the world's trust.
Tokyo was awarded the Games earlier on Saturday, beating Istanbul in a head-to-head vote after Abe delivered a charismatic plea to the IOC, promising them Japan's crippled nuclear plant was 'under control'.
"This has been such a close race until the last moment," Abe said during a press conference in Buenos Aires.
"The real games have only just started for Tokyo," he added. "Let us make ... efforts to win the trust and confidence of people in the world so that the decision to choose Tokyo on Saturday will be remembered as the right one," he added.
The Japanese capital won what one insider had called a"least-ugly" contest by most effectively covering its blemishes. Rival Madrid has been laid low by the economy and Istanbul has been beset by anti-government protests.
Tokyo won by a landslide, 60 votes to Istanbul's 36, after Madrid was eliminated in a first round of voting. This was despite concerns of the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant 230 km (140 miles) from the Japanese capital.
Abe, who left early from a Group of 20 summit in Russia to make his pitch at the meeting in Buenos Aires, promised the roughly 100 members of the International Olympic Committee that concerns about the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant were unfounded.
Fixing 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 would spend almost half a billion dollars to try to fix the water crisis. He told the IOC on Saturday, "Let me assure you the situation is under control."