Poor su­per­vi­sion be­hind ris­ing Tokyo 2020 costs

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Poor su­per­vi­sion and a lack of clear author­ity is one rea­son costs for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have soared to more than four times orig­i­nal es­ti­mates, the head of a Tokyo panel tasked with slash­ing ex­penses said yes­ter­day.

Tokyo Gov­er­nor Yuriko Koike, who took of­fice in Au­gust, or­dered a re­view of Olympic ex­penses that rec­om­mended chang­ing three venues in an ef­fort to rein in costs pro­jected to hit 3 tril­lion yen ($28.87 bil­lion), four times ini­tial es­ti­mates when the city won the right to host the Games.

At­ten­tion has fo­cused on the row­ing and ca­noe/kayak sprint venue, orig­i­nally set to take place at a new Tokyo fa­cil­ity, the cost of which has surged to around 52 bil­lion yen, nearly seven times higher than the orig­i­nal bud­get.

The Tokyo re­view panel headed by Shinichi Ueyama, also a pro­fes­sor at Tokyo’s Keio Univer­sity, on Tues­day pro­posed changes that could cut as much as 50 bil­lion yen from the to­tal bill.

Yes­ter­day, he blamed a good part of the sit­u­a­tion on a lack of clear over­sight of ex­penses.

“There is no proper mech­a­nism in place to man­age the en­tire bud­get, a real lack of gov­er­nance,” Ueyama told a news con­fer­ence.

Ueyama noted that while each or­gan­i­sa­tion in­volved in the Olympics had its own chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer (CFO), they only over­saw the bud­get for their own group.

“There is no­body who has author­ity equiv­a­lent to a CEO or CFO as there is in a usual com­pany, and this is a source of great con­cern to us,” he added.

The Tokyo gov­ern­ment, na­tional gov­ern­ment, Tokyo 2020 Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee and the Ja­pan Olympic Com­mit­tee are all in­volved in pulling the games to­gether.

At the end of Septem­ber, Ueyama’s panel rec­om­mended a num­ber of cost­cut­ting changes, in­clud­ing mov­ing the row­ing and ca­noe/kayak sprint venue to an ex­ist­ing one 400 km (250 miles) north of the cap­i­tal. The sug­ges­tion is op­posed by Tokyo 2020 or­gan­is­ers and sports of­fi­cials. On Tues­day, in its fi­nal re­port, the panel said costs could be shaved by con­vert­ing per­ma­nent fa­cil­i­ties to tem­po­rary ones, or by scaling back plans for per­ma­nent fa­cil­i­ties to build them more cheaply. Shift­ing the row­ing venues to north­east­ern Ja­pan would re­quire an out­lay of 35 bil­lion yen to bring them up to Olympic stan­dard but of­fi­cials have also touted this as help­ing to re­gen­er­ate ar­eas hit by the 2011 tsunami, one of Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s sell­ing points when Ja­pan orig­i­nally won the Games.

In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach met with Koike last month and agreed to form a work­ing group com­pris­ing Tokyo, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment, 2020 or­gan­is­ers and the IOC to find ways to avoid waste­ful spend­ing. The first meet­ing be­gan on Tues­day and ends to­day.— Reuters

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