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Osaka Bids for 2008 Summer Olympics

February 20, 2000

OSAKA, Japan (AP) _ The city of Osaka opened its campaign for the 2008 Summer Olympics on Sunday with concerts, speeches and traditional performances aimed at rallying public support.

Osaka, Japan’s second-largest city and its historical commercial hub, made its official bid Jan. 25. Nine other cities, including Beijing, also are competing for the games.

At an office and convention complex in the center of the city, Osaka Mayor Takafumi Isomura urged his countrymen to back the effort to bring the Summer Games back to Japan for the first time since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

``The most important thing is for everyone in the country to make an appeal before the IOC,″ Isomura told a crowd of several hundred.

Isomura also said he expected an especially clean bidding process under new International Olympic Committee rules imposed after the organization’s biggest corruption scandal surrounding the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Candidate cities are expected to undergo a rigorous review to make sure they meet minimum requirements. The winner will be selected by secret IOC ballot in Moscow in July 2001.

Sunday’s events included traditional ``taiko″ drumming, a ``Shorinji″ martial arts demonstration, a concert, a rally walk in the park surrounding Osaka’s castle, and a symposium of former Olympians, including swimmer Mark Spitz, who won seven gold medals in the 1972 Munich games.

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