IOC completes briefing with 2020 bid cities

The six cities vying for the 2020 Olympics completed a two-day IOC briefing Friday on the bid process, including a shorter international campaign phase designed to cut spending.

Attending the closed-door sessions in Lausanne were delegates from Baku, Azerbaijan; Doha, Qatar; Istanbul, Turkey; Madrid; Rome; and Tokyo.

The International Olympic Committee called the meeting to explain the bidding process and rules as well as outline the scope and scale of hosting the games.

The IOC will choose the host city by secret ballot at its session in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7, 2013.

The cities must submit bid files to the IOC by Feb. 15. The IOC executive board will meet next May to decide whether to keep all six candidates or reduce the list.

The biggest change in the bid process is the reduction in the international promotion phase.

Instead of starting international lobbying efforts 16 months before the vote as in past bidding contests, the cities will only be able to begin that phase in January 2013.

"The last bids maybe spent too much money," Tokyo 2020 bid CEO Masato Mizuno told The Associated Press. "This time we only have nine months on the international campaign and we can save much money from last time."

Recent bid contests have seen cities spending tens of millions of dollars on their campaigns.

Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, is bidding for a second time in a row. The Japanese capital failed in a bid for the 2016 Games, which were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.

"We learned from the first bid," Mizuno said. "We must move much smarter this time."

Japan is still recovering from the earthquake and tsunami which killed nearly 20,000 people and touched off the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

But Mizuno said the Tokyo bid would not focus on the recovery efforts in its international campaign.

"Internationally there are all kinds of disasters and floods and earthquakes," he said. "We cannot just say this bid is for the recovery from the Japanese disaster. That is understandable domestically, but internationally people think of many other disasters as well."