After narrowing the field down to Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee voted Saturday on which city will host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
After two rounds of voting in Buenos Aires, the IOC made its announcement: Tokyo it is. The Olympics were last held in Japan’s capital in 1964, and in the country itself during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
The decision was welcome news in a country still recovering from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who traveled to Argentina to make a final push for the games, assured the IOC that Tokyo was the “safe” choice.
According to reports, the IOC may have passed on Istanbul, which made it to the second round of voting, because of the Syrian conflict on its border and a recent government crackdown on protesters. The city’s 19-billion-dollar bid also dwarfed its competitors’ bids because it would have had to fund massive infrastructure improvements.
After a first-round tie for second place with Istanbul, Madrid lost a runoff vote. Observers say the city may have lost its bid over concerns about Spain’s dire economic situation.
Both Turkey and Spain have also been dogged in recent years by doping scandals.
The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.