Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Summer Games, was seen as the safest course for the International Olympic Committee, because of its experience organizing major events and its "low crime" in a time of political and financial uncertainty across the globe.
Cheers and shouts of "Banzai!!" echoed across Tokyo just after sunrise as thousands of people started celebrating the city's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, beating rivals Istanbul and Madrid despite concerns about a nuclear plant leaking radioactive water.
A slight favorite ahead of the International Olympic Committee's vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Japan's capital defeated Istanbul 60-36 in the final round. Madrid was eliminated in the first round.
More than 1,200 dignitaries and Olympic athletes crammed into a convention hall in downtown Tokyo at 5 a.m. local time Sunday to usher in the start of the buildup for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Shouts of "Banzai" — a typical Japanese celebratory yell after big victories — filled the hall when the winning bid was confirmed.
"This is a credit to the efforts of the entire nation," said bid ambassador Saori Yoshida, a three-time gold medalist in women's wrestling. "The chance to see the highest level of sport live is a great chance for everyone and as an Olympic athlete I'm thrilled."
Tokyo, which promoted its bid as the reliable choice at a time of global political and economic unrest, had been on the defensive in the final days of the campaign because of mounting concerns over the leak of radioactive water from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
In the final presentation before the vote, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave the IOC assurances the Fukushima leak wasn't a threat to Tokyo and took personal responsibility for keeping the games safe.
Thousands of residents celebrated at Komazawa Olympic Stadium, a soccer venue when Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964. Across town in the Shibuya entertainment district, late-night revelers marked the occasion with cheers of "Nippon! Nippon!"