Sapporo is set to abandon its bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics at the request of the Japanese Olympic Committee, and will instead aim to stage the games in 2034 or later, sources close to the matter said Friday.

The JOC does not want the city, which is the capital of Hokkaido, to give up its bid itself, as doing so would jeopardize their chances of bidding again for future games, the sources said.

Photo taken on Oct. 6, 2023, shows an Olympic monument installed at Sapporo Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium in Sapporo, Hokkaido. (Kyodo)

Sapporo has been unable to build momentum as public sentiment has soured following the revelations of widespread bribery and bid-rigging related to the Tokyo Games in the summer of 2021.

There are also growing calls in Japan for Sapporo's Olympic bid to be pushed back to 2034 or later.

The JOC apparently accepts that it would be difficult for Sapporo to win the 2030 hosting rights based on the information it has gathered from International Olympic Committee sources during the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

"I have nothing to say right now," JOC President Yasuhiro Yamashita told reporters Thursday during his visit to Hangzhou for the Asian Games.

Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto said he will meet with Yamashita in Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss "how we should proceed," though he declined to comment on dropping the bid.

Sapporo was once considered the front-runner to host the Winter Olympics for a second time, but the IOC appears to have shifted its focus to other candidates after the scandals linked to the Tokyo Games.

Cities in Sweden, Switzerland and France are considering making bids to host the 2030 games, while Salt Lake City is seen as the favorite to win the 2034 race, leaving whether Japan will stage its third winter games after Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998 uncertain.

Some residents in Sapporo have high hopes that the global sports event could have a positive economic impact, while others are cooler about the prospect.

"I was looking forward to it because it would have provided an opportunity to increase Hokkaido's appeal," said a 51-year-old man in Sapporo, who added he hopes the city will bid for the Olympics in 2034 or later.

A man in his 70s said, "Due to the scandals, it's difficult to hold the Sapporo Olympics. We should have expected the bid to be abandoned, so I'm not particularly surprised."

Kazushige Niki, executive director of the Ski Association of Hokkaido, said, "While it's disappointing, we remain committed to training young children aiming for 2034. We will also focus on initiatives that foster a positive mindset in our athletes."

Related coverage:

Sapporo to abandon 2030 Winter Olympic bid: sources