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imageBUENOS AIRES: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured International Olympic Committee members on Saturday the situation regarding the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was under control in the final presentation by the Tokyo bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.

The 58-year-old - who had flown in from the G20 Summit in Russia - added that the contaminated water leaking from the plant had never done nor would ever do any damage to Tokyo, which is some 250 kilometres from Fukushima.

Tokyo bidding to host the Games for a second time are opposed by Istanbul, bidding for the fifth time, and Madrid trying for a third successive time.

The bid had been dogged throughout the week by questions over the safety of the Fukushima plant - damaged in the tsunami and earthquake which hit the north east of Japan in 2011 - as more stories emanated about contaminated water leaking into the Pacific Ocean.

However, Abe in an assured and polished performance speaking in English left no doubt that he and his government had the situation under control.

"Fukushima let me assure you the situation is under control," he said.

"It has never done or will do any damage to Tokyo."

Abe replied decisively when pressed by veteran Norwegian IOC member Gerhard Heiberg over Fukushima.

"You should read past the headlines and look at the facts," he said.

"The contaminated water has been contained in an area of the harbour only 0.3 square kilometres big.

"There have been no health problems and nor will there be. I will be taking responsibility for all the programmes with regard to the plant and the leaks."

Abe, who took up archery in 1973, said because he was inspired by the archers at the 1972 Games, the Olympics was part of his DNA, having experienced them for the first time at a young age.

"I was at the opening ceremony in Tokyo in 1964 and saw several thousand doves all released into the clear blue sky and coming together to make the Olympic rings," he said.

"It was all amazing to me at 10 years old."

Abe's impressive performance reflected the overall presentation which was full of the passion that had been lacking through their campaign.

The effects of the tsunami and earthquake killing over 18,000 people was never far from the lips of the presentation team.

Princess Takamado - daughter-in-law of the Japanese Emperor spoke in French expressing the gratitude Japan owed to the IOC in the way they had rallied round after the tsunami and how it had had an impact on the young living there.

"The Olympic bid has given the young people in the area affected something to dream for, the motivation to move forward with courage," said the 60-year-old, who is the first member of Japan's Royal Family to address the IOC.

"I know one of the IOC's most important aspects is the legacy a Games leaves. It the IOC will certainly remain in the heart of these young people.

Mami Sato, two time Paralympian in the long jump, spoke movingly about her personal experience of when the disaster struck.

"I was not there at the time and I was really worried because I did not know if my family was still alive but luckily they were," she said tearfully to the backdrop of a photo of her reunited with her parents.

Abe added: "Today under the blue sky of Fukushima there are young boys playing football and looking into the future and not the past."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013

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