Tokyo to Use Cherry Blossom for 2020 Olympic Bid

Tokyo will use Japan's most celebrated flower -- the cherry blossom -- in its bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Tokyo's 2020 bid committee unveiled its bid logo on Wednesday, the first of the six applicant cities to do so.

The logo is a wreath of cherry blossoms incorporating the Olympic colors of red, blue, yellow, green and purple, the last of which features prominently in Japanese cultural icons.

Organizers said the wreath signified eternity, happiness and a continuous unbroken cycle, while also symbolizing Japan's recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

"We believe the logo will play a major role in our bid," Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda said. "The logo will be appreciated by people in Japan and around the world."

A competition to submit logo designs for the bid was opened to young art and design students, and the winning entry was selected by a panel of judges from 38 entries.

The contest winner, Ai Shimamine, is currently a fourth year student at Joshibi University of Art and Design.

Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics and campaigned for the 2016 Olympics but lost out to Rio de Janeiro, is up against Doha, Qatar; Istanbul; Madrid and Rome. The candidate cities will submit their plans for the games to the International Olympic Committee by February. The IOC will select the host city in September 2013.

Tokyo is promoting its 2020 bid to be a symbol of Japan's recovery from the earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing on Japan's northeast coast.

The JOC has said if Tokyo wins the right to host the games, regions affected by the earthquake, tsunami and the ensuing nuclear crises could host some events, such as football.