The Japanese city of Sapporo, situated on the northern island of Hokkaido, is set to end its campaign to host the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The city had initially placed its bid on hold in December 2022 and is now set to redouble its efforts toward hosting the 2034 Winter Games.

According to Japanese news outlet Kyodo News, Sapporo’s mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto will meet with Yasuhiro Yamashita, the president of the country’s Olympic committee, to discuss the bid’s cancellation.  

One potential driver to the decision is the lack of public support from locals in Hokkaido towards the prospect of hosting the games.

Speaking to Kyodo News, Akimoto said: “We must proceed with an Olympic bid with the understanding of the local people, at this point, we cannot say that we are gaining that understanding.”

Japan hosted the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but has not hosted the Winter Olympics since 1998 when the games came to Nagano.

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Sapporo, meanwhile, hosted the Winter Games once before in 1972 and was awarded the games in 1940, but the event was canceled due to the onset of World War II.

Sapporo’s withdrawal from the bidding process leaves Salt Lake City, US, Stockholm and Åre, Sweden, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France, and Switzerland as the remaining interested parties.

A key driver behind the failure of Sapporo’s bid has likely been the fallout from the bribery scandal that haunted the Tokyo 2020 games.

As recently as April 2023, executives from companies that had sponsored the games have been handed sentences over bribery that occurred to secure those contracts.

The Tokyo District Court ruled that between 2019 and 2022, a trio of executives from Aoki Holdings transferred JPY28 million ($209,100) to a consulting firm headed up by Harayuki Takahashi, who was on the board of the Tokyo Games organizing committee.

Aoki Holdings was then, in return for the bribes, granted the contract to supply uniforms to the Japanese Olympic team.

Personnel from firms Kadokawa, Daiko Advertising, ADK Holdings, and Sun Arrow have also been charged with paying Takahashi illegally in return for securing sponsorship contracts, while Japanese authorities have raided the offices of other firms being investigated, including advertising giants Dentsu.

The scandal led to Sapporo pausing its 2030 Games bid in December 2022, and that bid is likely now to not be revived.