Bach reminds Tokyo to stick with current venue plans
TOKYO » IOC President Thomas Bach expressed willingness Tuesday to work with Tokyo officials to achieve a “significant reduction” in costs for the 2020 Olympics, but suggested the effort should stick to the current venue plans.
Bach arrived in Japan amid growing tension between Olympic organizers and recently elected Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who is pushing to cut costs. A preliminary report from a city expert panel late last month proposed moving three sports from planned new venues to existing ones — including relocating rowing to a site hundreds of miles outside the capital.
Bach reminded the governor that Tokyo should respect the agreement it signed when it was awarded the games three years ago.
“I think it is in the interest of Japan, Tokyo and IOC that we do not change the rules of the competition after the election,” Bach said. “By respecting these principles we can very well look into the budget of Tokyo 2020 and we can look at the cost. We can see together how we can make it even more feasible.”
Bach proposed four-party talks among the International Olympic Committee, Tokyo organizers, the city government and Japan’s central government to agree on additional cost reductions, starting as early as November after Tokyo releases a final report. Bach declined to discuss specific proposals, saying he only knew about them from media reports.
“The Tokyo metropolitan government will finalize its internal study, then we’ll discuss it with the other stakeholders ... and then I am confident that you will see a significant reduction in the cost compared to what we have seen so far from the press,” Bach told reporters after a 40-minute televised meeting with Koike.
The Tokyo panel’s preliminary report said the overall cost of the Olympics could exceed $30 billion — four times the initial estimate — unless drastic cuts are made.
The review focuses on whether each venue can be cost-effective while also contribute to the reconstruction of the area hit by the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima disaster.
“That’s how we have promoted to attract the games,” Koike said.