Tokyo or­gan­is­ers prom­ise cost-cut­ting for 2020 Olympics

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Hop­ing to avoid last-minute fi­nan­cial pres­sures, Ja­panese of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day they are de­ter­mined to keep to­tal costs of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games be­low 2 trillion yen ($18 bil­lion) af­ter a three-day de­brief­ing from or­gan­is­ers of the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Rio was forced to make cuts up to the open­ing of this year's games be­cause the Brazil­ian econ­omy went into se­vere re­ces­sion af­ter the Olympics were awarded in 2009.

Tokyo's es­ti­mated costs have bal­looned in the face of con­struc­tion costs that have soared since the city launched its bid for the Olympics in 2011 and se­cured the games in 2013.

"We're com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing costs," Tokyo or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee CEO Toshiro Muto said af­ter the de­brief­ing wrapped up. "The city govern­ment, the na­tional govern­ment and the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee must all work to­gether."

A Tokyo govern­ment panel has said the cost of the Olympics could ex­ceed $30 bil­lion — four times the ini­tial es­ti­mate — un­less dras­tic cuts are made.

Muto pro­posed putting a 2 trillion yen ($18 bil­lion) cap on to­tal Olympic costs but IOC vice pres­i­dent John Coates said the ceil­ing was too high.

"The fig­ure of 2 trillion is a start­ing point," Muto said. "From there we will move to re­duce it fur­ther. Mr. Coates has said it should be lower and we agree with that."

More than 500 of­fi­cials took part in the de­brief­ing ses­sions here that are aimed at draw­ing les­sons from the Rio Games for Tokyo and other fu­ture or­gan­is­ers.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, Tokyo or­gan­is­ers and Ja­pan's cen­tral and city gov­ern­ments have been meet­ing in Tokyo to dis­cuss ways of re­duc­ing costs.

Tokyo Olympic or­gan­is­ers agreed Tues­day to keep the row­ing, ca­noe sprint and swimming venues at their planned sites in Tokyo, rather than mov­ing them to ex­it­ing venues out­side the cap­i­tal. A de­ci­sion on a pos­si­ble switch of the vol­ley­ball venue was post­poned un­til late De­cem­ber. Coates, who heads the IOC's co­or­di­na­tion com­mis­sion for the Tokyo Games, em­pha­sised the need to re­solve is­sues quickly.

"The sooner you get out there and ar­rive at en­ter­ing into your var­i­ous pro­cure­ment con­tracts to com­mence con­struc­tion then the cheaper it's go­ing to be," he said.

Tokyo ini­tially won the bid on a prom­ise to stage a com­pact games but has moved sev­eral events to neigh­bor­ing pre­fec­tures since beat­ing out Is­tan­bul and Madrid in the IOC vot­ing.

Bas­ket­ball will be staged in Saitama, a one-hour train ride north of Tokyo, while cy­cling was trans­ferred to Izu, over two hours away from the cap­i­tal.

In ad­di­tion to the IOC ex­ec­u­tives and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Rio and Tokyo, the de­brief­ing was at­tended by or­gan­is­ers of the 2018 Win­ter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and 2022 Win­ter Olympics in Bei­jing, as well as del­e­ga­tions from the three bid cities for the 2024 Olympics — Paris, Bu­dapest and Los An­ge­les.

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