The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) executive board has approved Sapporo’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics.
The JOC invited Japanese cities interested in hosting the Games to come forward between November and December last year but Sapporo was the only one to register an interest.
The JOC will now notify the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of its decision.
IOC president Thomas Bach has expressed his support for a Sapporo bid, arguing that the city has proved its event hosting capabilities by taking on the Tokyo 2020 marathon and race walking events. Both events were moved away from the Japanese capital over concerns about the heat.
Sapporo pulled out of a bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics in 2018 following earthquakes in Hokkaido.
In January Reuters reported Bach as saying: “Already this candidature was an excellent one (for 2026). Until 2030 it would even be better. We understand that by 2030 the infrastructure would even be improved compared to 2026.”
Sapporo’s Olympic candidacy is one of the first to emerge out of the IOC’s reformed bidding process which aims to encourage more of a direct relationship between cities and the IOC.
The IOC is trying to reduce costs for candidate cities by shortening the bidding process. It is also trying to end candidates’ dependence on expensive external consultancies by providing more support and expertise.
A delegation led by Sapporo mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto is understood to have met Bach in Lausanne in January to discuss the city’s candidacy.
Salt Lake City in the US, Lillehammer in Norway and Barcelona in Spain have all indicated interest in hosting the 2030 Winter Olympics.