Johannes Sigfrid Edstrom, the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, visited Japan in 1929 and met with Tadaoki Yamamoto, a professor of Waseda University and the President of the Inter-University Athletics Union of Japan. Together the two discussed hosting the Olympic Games in Japan. In his meeting with Edstrom, Yamamoto expressed his desire to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo City. Yamamoto reported to top-ranking officials of Tokyo City the details of this discussion, and the idea for hosting the Olympic Games quickly came to life. This enthusiasm led to the “Proposal for hosting the International Olympics Games” being adopted at the meeting of the Tokyo City Assembly in October 1931. The aim was to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1940, the year when Japan would celebrate the 2600th anniversary of its founding. The Mayor of Tokyo City Hidejiro Nagata then requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make the most of the 10th Olympic Games in Los Angeles and commence activities targeting the IOC to promote the hosting of Olympic Games in Tokyo through governmental offices abroad.

Document 1 is the request made by Mayor Nagata to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Makoto Saito.

The representatives of Japan officially proposed hosting the Olympics Games in Tokyo to the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the IOC session held in Los Angeles in 1932.

At the IOC session in 1935, three cities competed for the honor of hosting the Olympic Games in 1940: Tokyo, Rome, and Helsinki. As a result of Ambassador to Italy Yotaro Sugimura’s direct negotiations with the Prime Minister of Italy Benito Mussolini, Rome agreed to withdraw its bid to host the games. It was decided to postpone making a final decision until the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, but Tokyo City quickly began to make specific preparations by establishing a 12th Tokyo Olympic Bid Committee at the end of 1935.

While preparations for hosting the Olympic Games moved forward, the IOC President Count Baillet-Latour made private visits to the facilities that would be used in the Olympics to check their condition between March 20 and April 9, 1936. Following this inspection, he claimed that there would be no problem with Japan hosting the Olympic Games.

Document 2 is a document about Count Baillet-Latour’s visit to Japan, which was sent by the Superintendent-General of the Metropolitan Police Kaoru Ishida to the ministers of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Education, as well as the governors of the prefectures to which Count Baillet-Latour was visiting. The document contains comments that Count Baillet-Latour made after his arrival in Japan, and a schedule of the places he would visit in Japan.

Following the aforementioned developments, it was finally decided at the IOC session held on July 31, 1936 during the Berlin Olympic Games that Tokyo City would host the 12th Olympic Games.


Japan Center for Asian Historical Records, National Archives of Japan