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Japan to host 'fun' 2026 Asian Games

DANANGVietnam – Japan's central Aichi prefecture and its capital city Nagoya were confirmed as co-hosts of the 2026 Asian Games on Sunday, September 25, adding another major event to the country's bulging international sports calendar.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) formally endorsed the bid after Aichi prefecture governor Hideaki Ohumra and Nagoya city mayor Takashi Kawamura presented their joint offering to the OCA general assembly in Danang.

Kawamura promised that the Games would be fun, and even serenaded the assembly with a verse from the Elvis Presley song "Can't help falling in love" to prove the point.

Both men emphasized the strength of Japan's economy and advanced technology as well as the country's successful record of staging major sports events. 

As the lone bidder for the Games, Japan's proposal was rubber-stamped by the assembly and the host contract signed by the OCA and the bid delegates.

The OCA had originally planned to choose the 2026 Asian Games host in 2018 but brought the vote forward to provide some certainty to the region's crammed sporting calendar which includes 3 Olympic events over the next 8 years.

"The roadmap of our main event and sports calendar is very stable," OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told the assembly in the Vietnamese city, which is currently hosting the 5th Asian Beach Games.

"Asia will host a lot of international events for a lot of international federations... so we want to try and make a very stable programme for our different events."

South Korea is already hosting the Winter Olympics at Pyeonchang in 2018, while Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics before the winter games go to Beijing in 2022.

Held every 4 years, the 2018 Asian Games are in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang while the 2022 edition will take place in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Japan will also host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the Asian Winter Games in 2017 and the world swimming championships in 2021.

The joint bid for the 2026 Asian Games almost came unstuck following a dispute over the cost of funding the Games that was only resolved this month.

Kawamura originally threatened to withdraw Nagoya's joint bid because of fears costs could spiral before reaching an agreement with the prefectural government of Aichi. – Rappler.com