Tokyo, Japan, January 29, 2020: The Japan Olympic Committee has given Sapporo the green light to enter the dialogue stage of the 2030 Olympic Winter Games bid process with the International Olympic Committee, a JOC official said on Wednesday.
The JOC formally voted to allow the three-time Asian Winter Games host city to move forward with the bid at its board meeting in Tokyo, reports Kyodo News.
Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, was praised as a potential candidate this month by IOC President Thomas Bach after Sapporo stepped in at short notice to host this summer's Tokyo Olympic marathon and race walk events.
Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto spoke with President Bach on January 11 in Lausanne, Switzerland, at a meeting which was also attended by Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto and JOC President Yasuhiro Yamashita.
JOC Senior Executive Board member Keiko Momii said Sapporo's bid was likely to be based around existing facilities.
"It will be decided after another consultation with Sapporo city officials. It has yet to be determined," Momii said.
Barcelona and Salt Lake City, host of the 2002 Winter Olympics, have also expressed interest in hosting the 2030 Games.
Sapporo had originally expressed interest in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics but a large earthquake in September 2018 forced a rethink.
The winter sports hotbed of Hokkaido - the northernmost of Japan's four main islands - Sapporo hosted the first two editions of the Asian Winter Games in 1986 and 1990 and for a third time in 2017.