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Japan arrive in Rio already looking forward to home Games in 2020

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Japan have set themselves an ambitious target of 14 gold medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro but are already looking four years ahead to their home Tokyo Games in 2020.

"We‘re looking at Tokyo 2020 as we compete in Rio and the efforts and achievements of Japanese athletes in Rio will have an affect on the 2020 Games," deputy chef de mission Yuji Takada told a news conference Monday.

"We‘re looking to win 14 gold medals and 30 or more medals in total. These are the targets we have for Team Japan."

Japan‘s record haul of Olympic gold is 16, a mark reached at home in Tokyo in 1964 and matched at Athens 2004 and they have only twice (in 2004 and 2012) exceeded 30 overall.

It is hoped swimmer Kosuke Hagino could set the gold rush rolling on the first competition day Saturday while the gymnast Kohei Uchimura, who won the all-round gold in 2012 and is a six-time world champion, will also be expected to deliver.

Medals are also likely in judo and weightlifting while sports with an outside chance of success include badminton and athletics.

The other deputy chef de mission, Yasuhiro Yamashita, praised the welcome received by the team in Rio but he too had an eye on what could be learned from this Olympics for the Tokyo Games.

"At the airport we had a warm welcome from many Japanese people supporting us, children from a Japanese school in Rio," he said. "We were given a banner to cheer (for) us from these children and we felt like they gave us a lot of energy."

"We certainly want to have a successful 2020 and there‘s no doubt the Rio Games will be very helpful. We‘d like to make use of these Games so we can have a very successful Tokyo 2020 Games."

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