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Tokyo Governor, IOC Agree to Review 2020 Olympic Games Costs

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe introduces Tokyo 2020 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games closing ceremony. Photo By Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil - http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/rio-2016/foto/2016-08/cerimonia-de-encerramento-dos-jogos-olimpicos-rio-2016-0, CC BY 3.0 br, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50820080

Urged by IOC President Thomas Bach to cut costs of the Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike accepted Bach’s proposal for a four-party working group to review the costs for the 2020 Games. According to an IOC press release, the talks will involve the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the Japanese Government.

Stating he was “fully committed to having Games in a sustainable and feasible way,” Bach said he was sure that “significant savings” could be made on the figures contained in an interim report by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Such savings would come on top of the $1.8 billion savings already made.

In looking for savings, the IOC President reminded the Governor not to forget two key principles – he reminded her that the “heart and soul of the Olympic Games is the athletes and that their experience must be respected, with athletes able to come together in one place.” Secondly, he reminded the Governor of the initial terms on which Tokyo won the hosting rights for the 2020 Olympic Games.

“What we also have to respect is the fair competition in which Tokyo won the rights to host the Olympic Games three years ago,” Bach said. “Tokyo and Japan won because they presented a very convincing project.”

“I think it’s in the interests of Japan, the IOC and Tokyo that we do not change the rules of the competition after the election because we all know that the Japanese people and people of Tokyo are reliable partners who are delivering on their commitment,” he added.

Accepting the proposal for a four-way working group, the Governor stressed the need for all parties to work together and to “make maximum efforts to deliver sustainable Olympic Games as described in Olympic Agenda 2020.” A still-to-be-finalized report commissioned by Governor Koike stated last month that the cost of organizing the 2020 Tokyo Games could greatly increase compared to the initial budget.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Photo by Sven Teschke via Wikimedia Commons
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Photo by Sven Teschke via Wikimedia Commons

Commenting on the numbers in the report, John Coates, chair of the IOC Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission, said: “That’s certainly a figure that seems very large to us. We are very confident that we can work with the Governor; we can work with the Tokyo Organizing Committee and the national government. With our experience, we can reduce those figures.”

President Bach urged the Governor to finalize the report, which she said could be ready next month, so that the working group could start immediately. He told her that “we are ready as soon as you are ready.”

After meeting the Tokyo Governor, the President met Hirokazu Matsuno, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports Science and Technology, and the Olympic and Paralympic Minister, Tamayo Marukawa. Both ministers stressed the need for all parties to work together for sustainable and ultimately successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.

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