Changes to the Olympic election process announced by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday are likely to impact Sapporo's prospective 2030 Winter Games bid.
Speaking at a press conference on the final day of the three-day IOC Session, IOC President Thomas Bach said his organization is willing to open dialogue with any potential bidder which expresses interest and that Sapporo "has our telephone number."
Sapporo, which was forced to withdraw its bid for the 2026 Games after an earthquake in September 2018, will have to contend with different rules for its next attempt.
If signed off, the changes will see flexible timelines, more dialogue and permission for bids to encompass multiple cities. Also, the requirement for the host city to be elected seven years in advance will be removed from the Olympic Charter.
The changes are aimed at making the process of winning an Olympic Games more attractive and, therefore, increasing the number of bids launched.
The updated rules could come into force in time for the process to select the host for the 2030 Games.
Bach said the changes represent an "evolution" of his Agenda 2020 "revolution."
For Sapporo, the capital of Japan's northern island of Hokkaido that was hit by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in September 2018 that killed more than 40 people, the changes mean it might have more competition for 2030.
Sapporo was the third bid to drop out of the 2026 race after Switzerland's Sion and Austria's Graz. Calgary became the fourth, leaving just two candidates.
It was the second straight Winter Games vote with only two candidates on the ballot. The bidding for the 2022 Olympics also came down to two cities after four of the original bidders dropped out, leaving only Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, the eventual winner.
"At the time when the earthquake hit...Sapporo had to, unfortunately, withdraw from the 2026 race, there we were already made aware of their intention to be a candidate in 2030," Bach said.
"With this new procedure, now we can start having a conversation with Sapporo and other interested cities who have also already, more or less, in a formal way indicated their interest," he said.
Tokyo has been awarded the Summer Games twice -- 1964 and 2020 -- and the Japanese capital will be the first city in Asia to host the Olympics twice. Sapporo hosted the Winter Games in 1972.
Paris got the 2024 Games, Los Angeles 2028, and Italy's joint bid of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo was this week announced as the winner of the 2026 Games.