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Madrid ‘favoured’ for Olympic bid via Al Jazeera

Spanish city set to benefit as Syria’s civil war and stricken Fukushima plant threatens Tokyo and Istanbul’s 2020 bids.

Fears over radiation from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant and fall-out from the bloody civil war in Syria are hanging over Tokyo and Istanbul’s attempts to host the 2020 Olympics, amid suggestions that third candidate city Madrid could benefit.

Tokyo’s bid leaders were on Wednesday forced to assuage lingering doubts over safety in the Japanese capital, with radioactive water leaking into the ocean, two-and-a-half years after the nuclear disaster.

Bid president Tsunekazu Takeda even revealed that he had written to every member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to try to allay fears.

“The water is safe and the level of radioactivity is absolutely safe,” he told a news conference in Buenos Aires, where International Olympic Committee (IOC) members vote on Saturday to decide the 2020 host city.

“Our prime minister (Shinzo) Abe has officially announced that the government will be responsible for the project (to clear up Fukushima).

“I am not worried about the Tokyo 2020 bid.”

But the 2011 meltdown at the plant 220km from Tokyo, which followed a devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 18,000, could still be a deciding factor in the vote, according to one analyst.

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