Tokyo, Sep 12: Japan's cabinet has approved Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and agreed the government will pay up to half the building costs, a spokesman said, clearing the way for the capital to file its candidacy.
Tokyo is running against Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Chicago and Qatari capital Doha, with the deadline for applications on Sept. 13. The International Olympic Committee will decide on the host city in 2009.
Tokyo became the first Asian city to host a summer Olympics in 1964. Since then only South Korea's Seoul (1988) has staged the summer Games in Asia, while Beijing in China will stage the event next year.
Hosting the Olympics ''is a national project, which will leave tangible and intangible fortunes to Japanese citizens,'' Kyodo news agency quoted Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara as saying after the approval was formalised.
''We will make the utmost effort for a successful bid.'' The cabinet also decided that Japan's central government would bear up to half the cost of building major facilities for the games, Kyodo added.