Tokyo de­tails venue changes, cost cuts for 2020 Games

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The row­ing and ca­noe­ing venue for the 2020 Olympics should either be moved to a site hun­dreds of miles (kilo­me­ters) away in north­ern Ja­pan or down­graded to a tem­po­rary fa­cil­ity in Tokyo, a city govern­ment cost-cut­ting panel said yes­ter­day.

The rec­om­men­da­tion came as of­fi­cials of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, Tokyo’s city govern­ment and other key par­ties gath­ered to re­view the cost of the games.

The panel has said the cost of the Tokyo Olympics could ex­ceed $30 bil­lion - four times the ini­tial es­ti­mate - un­less dras­tic cuts are made. In a fi­nal re­port pre­sented to Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, the panel said an­other op­tion is to stick with the orig­i­nal plans for the Sea For­est venue in Tokyo Bay but to find ways of cut­ting the costs.

Last month, the panel came up with the op­tion of mov­ing row­ing and ca­noe­ing to the Na­ganuma site in Tome city, 400 kilo­me­ters (250 miles) north of Tokyo. That came af­ter the pro­jected cost for the Sea For­est venue soared to nearly 50 bil­lion yen ($480 mil­lion), seven times the ini­tial es­ti­mate.

Yes­ter­day, the panel of aca­demics and busi­ness con­sul­tants hand-picked by Koike said mov­ing to Na­ganuma would be the most cost­ef­fi­cient so­lu­tion. Panel chair­man Shinichi Ueyama said the Na­ganuma site is the only re­al­is­tic out-of-town al­ter­na­tive to the Sea For­est venue, con­sid­er­ing the time needed for ad­di­tional con­struc­tion and other prepa­ra­tions.

The re­lo­cated venue would re­quire up to 20 bil­lion yen ($190 mil­lion) in con­struc­tion costs to meet Olympic stan­dards. Ad­di­tional costs re­lated to se­cu­rity, trans­porta­tion and other in­fra­struc­ture could add up fur­ther. An ear­lier cost es­ti­mate for the Na­ganuma site was 35 bil­lion yen ($330 mil­lion).

Down­grad­ing the Sea For­est venue to a tem­po­rary fa­cil­ity could bring the es­ti­mated con­struc­tion and run­ning costs down to 45 bil­lion yen ($430 mil­lion), the panel said. Al­ter­na­tively, con­tin­u­ing with the per­ma­nent Sea For­est fa­cil­ity could cost about 70 bil­lion yen ($670 mil­lion), even with fur­ther cost-cut­ting ef­forts, the re­port said. Koike was to present all op­tions in the re­port to the of­fi­cials from the IOC, Ja­panese or­ga­niz­ers and the cen­tral govern­ment dur­ing the four-party talks be­gin­ning Tues­day. The of­fi­cials are ex­pected to hold sev­eral rounds of talks be­fore reach­ing a con­clu­sion.

“We have to de­cide by the end of Novem­ber at the lat­est, con­sid­er­ing the time needed for re­vi­sions to the de­sign and con­struc­tion of the venues,” Koike told re­porters. “We must make sure to get ev­ery­thing ready in time.” The Na­ganuma site is part of the area still re­cov­er­ing from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which Koike says fits the theme of the re­gion’s re­con­struc­tion from the dis­as­ter.

The IOC, as well as in­ter­na­tional and Ja­panese row­ing and ca­noe­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions have op­posed mov­ing the venue out­side of Tokyo. IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo last month, sup­ported fur­ther cost-cut­ting mea­sures, how­ever.

The city panel also pro­posed mov­ing two other sports - vol­ley­ball and swimming - from planned new venues to ex­ist­ing ones in Tokyo. “There is a de­mand for good fa­cil­i­ties, but who takes care of them af­ter the event? We have to think care­fully if they serve pos­i­tive lega­cies,” Ueyama said. Gain­ing tax pay­ers’ un­der­stand­ing is cru­cial for a suc­cess­ful Olympics, he said, crit­i­ciz­ing “se­crecy” among Ja­panese or­ga­niz­ers and bu­reau­cracy. Tokyo or­ga­niz­ers have yet to for­mally dis­close the to­tal cost for the games and break­downs. Ueyama urged Ja­panese or­ga­niz­ers to fol­low the ex­am­ple of Lon­don, which dis­closed cost es­ti­mates from five years out be­fore the 2012 Games. — AP

MEL­BOURNE: Al­mandin, front, with jockey Ker­rin McEvoy board wins the Mel­bourne Cup horse rac­ing at the Flem­ing­ton Race­course in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia, yes­ter­day. Heart­break City, rear, came sec­ond. — AP

TOKYO: Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike looks over a re­port dur­ing an ex­pert panel at the Tokyo Met­ro­pol­i­tan govern­ment of­fice in Tokyo, yes­ter­day. A Tokyo met­ro­pol­i­tan govern­ment panel re­view­ing costly Olympic venues has pro­posed down­grad­ing the ex­pen­sive row­ing and ca­noe­ing site for the Tokyo Games to a tem­po­rary fa­cil­ity, or mov­ing the events to an ex­ist­ing site in north­ern Ja­pan. — AP

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