BUENOS AIRES - Tokyo was awarded the 2020 summer Games on Saturday, beating Istanbul in a head-to-head vote after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had addressed the International Olympic Committee in person to allay fears over the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The Japanese capital won the right to stage the sporting extravaganza for the second time, having hosted in 1964 when the Games first went to Asia, after two years of intense lobbying and tens of millions of dollars spent.

For Istanbul it was a fifth unsuccessful bid to host a summer Olympics.

Madrid, which had pitched a safe, affordable, "sensible" bid had been earlier eliminated first in a secret vote by International Olympic Committee members on a head to head with Istanbul after the two cities were tied in second place after the initial vote. Their attempt to host 2020 had been a third consecutive bid.

Madrid had been many commentators’ favourites to win the right to stage the Games with a bid focused on being ready, dependable, safe and relatively cheap.

With 80 percent of the necessary investment already made, they had appeared to be an easy option for the IOC, with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy telling IOC members earlier on Saturday “numbers don’t lie”.

Spaniards reacted with disbelief and disappointment after Madrid was eliminated as a possible host of the 2020 summer Games in the opening round of voting

The elimination comes as Spaniards are swallowing cuts in health and education and battling one of the worst unemployment rates in Europe of 26 percent. Many had hoped a winning bid would bring a welcome note of cheer to the city.

The next summer Olympics will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro in 2016.