Tokyo 2020 slashes bud­get to $17 bn

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

TOKYO: Tokyo Olympics or­gan­is­ers un­veiled a smaller bud­get of up to $17 bil­lion yes­ter­day af­ter com­ing un­der pres­sure to cut bal­loon­ing costs. The fig­ure, down from last month’s pledge to cap spend­ing at $17.78 bil­lion, fol­lows warn­ings that the bill for the 2020 Games could soar as high as $30 bil­lion.

Or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee chief ex­ec­u­tive Toshiro Muto said the en­tire Games bud­get would be be­tween 1.6 tril­lion and 1.8 tril­lion yen, which he put at $15-16.8 bil­lion.

Un­der the lat­est ex­change rate, the same yen fig­ure is worth $13.6-15.3 bil­lion. This year’s Rio Games cost $12 bil­lion, while Lon­don 2012 came in £8.77 bil­lion or $13.7 bil­lion un­der the ex­change rate at the time.

Yes­ter­day’s fig­ure, the most com­plete bud­get yet for Tokyo 2020, comes af­ter of­fi­cials scram­bled to slash the costs of build­ing some venues. It was re­vealed at talks be­tween the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) and the Tokyo and na­tional gov­ern­ments, who are meet­ing reg­u­larly to try to cut costs. “This does give the over­all pic­ture,” IOC vi­cepres­i­dent John Coates said by vide­olink from Sydney.

“We are pleased with the progress you are con­tin­u­ing to make,” he said, adding: “We think that we can work with you to find... more sav­ings.” Tokyo gov­er­nor Yuriko Koike, who was elected this year vow­ing to bring down costs, said some 40 bil­lion yen would be saved af­ter a re­view of the ca­noe­ing, vol­ley­ball and swim­ming venues. “The three-party meet­ing by the com­mit­tee, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment and the Tokyo gov­ern­ment, will get to work on specifics early next year,” Koike told re­porters, with “cost-shar­ing” on the agenda. “I want to strictly check who will pay for what as swiftly as pos­si­ble.” In the bat­tle to cut costs, she had pro­posed mov­ing the ca­noe­ing venue 400 kilo­me­tres (250 miles) north of Tokyo to Miyagi pre­fec­ture, one of the ar­eas hard­est hit by Ja­pan’s 2011 tsunami dis­as­ter.

But the idea faced re­sis­tance from the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, which ar­gued that chang­ing sites was im­prac­ti­cal and could end up cost­ing more. Koike dropped the plan last month and an­nounced that ca­noe­ing would stay in Tokyo but with the venue built at a sharply re­duced cost. She also said then that Tokyo would build a new aquatic cen­tre with 15,000 seats, smaller and cheaper than the orig­i­nal plan for a 20,000-seat fa­cil­ity.

And last week Koike said the vol­ley­ball venue would stay in the cap­i­tal but be built at a lower cost.In a meet­ing last month, Muto said the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee’s work­ing bud­get was capped at less than two tril­lion yen ($17.78 bil­lion) and of­fi­cials were com­mit­ted to push­ing it lower. But Coates re­fused to ac­cept the fig­ure and said over­all costs would have to come down sig­nif­i­cantly.

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TOKYO: In this Dec. 11, 2016 file photo, pho­tog­ra­phers take a photo of the site of new na­tional sta­dium af­ter a ground­break­ing cer­e­mony in Tokyo.

TOKYO: Pres­i­dent of Tokyo 2020 Olympics or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee Yoshiro Mori speaks to the me­dia af­ter a Four-Party Work­ing Group meet­ing to present the first of­fi­cial cost es­ti­mate for the 2020 Tokyo Games in Tokyo yes­ter­day. The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will likely cost as much as $17 bil­lion, the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee said yes­ter­day, an es­ti­mate re­flect­ing in­tense ef­forts to cut costs that had threat­ened to spi­ral out of con­trol.

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