(ATR) The IOC’s watchdog chief for the Tokyo Olympics wants 2020 Games costs to be “justified” by the event and its legacy.
The IOC coordination commission meeting gets underway in Tokyo (ATR)
Rising costs of the Tokyo Olympics have been a hot button issue over the last two years since the election of Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike. Shortly after taking office, Koike announced a wholesale review of the costs for the Games warning that the Tokyo budget could eclipse $30 billion.
The IOC intervened to halt a total reorganization and four-party talks between national and city governments, the IOC and Tokyo 2020 approved a $16.8 billion budget for Tokyo
. But Koike said earlier this year increased spending may be needed from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to meet Games demands. Tokyo 2020 said it did not consider such measures to be part of the Olympic budget.
IOC coordination commission chair John Coates and his team reiterated the need to discuss Olympic costs during their remarks Tuesday that opened the three-day inspection of Tokyo's preparations. Meetings are taking place with Games organisers, government officials and marketing partners.
Coates said Tokyo 2020 proposed over “30 cost saving measures for [the IOC’s] consideration”. The IOC is expected to report back on the measures by Aug. 1.
“We want these [Olympics] to be sustainable. We want this to be Games that have been justified with respect to the cost,” Coates said. “We want these to be Games that we can proudly boast about the cost and not be the Games that are unaffordable. There is a lot of work being done with your cooperation in that regard.”
Koike, Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori and Japanese Olympics minister Shunichi Suzuki delivered speeches to open the CoComm visit.
Suzuki said the Japanese government was “pursuing further optimization and efficiency in costs” for Tokyo 2020. He said significant challenges remain in planning to control traffic during the Tokyo Games, and educating the public how to deal with heat-related maladies.
Nearly every speech at the coordination commission's opening session today referenced Tokyo's sizzling summer heat, which could cause concern from some federations
Coates said that there were no issues related to construction deadlines, with all venues remaining on scheduled completion dates. Tokyo 2020 was “making great progress on all endeavors", Coates added.
“It is two years to go to the Olympic Games and we are in the implementation stage and things are becoming very concrete,” Koike said to the CoComm. “We want to liaise with the central government and Tokyo 2020 to expedite the preparations for the Games.”
Solemn Opening for CoComm
The IOC commission began its meeting offering condolences to victims of flooding in Western Japan and the death of an IOC member and Tokyo 2020 executive.
Torrential rains have caused devastating flooding in Western Japan, which has led to the death of over 100 people in the region. Tokyo 2020 president Mori said that a number of side activities planned for the CoComm were cancelled out of respect for the victims. Both Mori and Koike offered to pray for the victims.
In addition to the flooding, Coates offered his condolences for IOC member Irena Szewinska, who was a member of the Tokyo 2020 CoComm. Szewinska was the IOC member from Poland and competed in the Tokyo 1964 Olympics.
“She is the last as I can see it historic link between the IOC membership and the 1964 Olympic Games,” Coates said. “She competed here...and she made a very great contribution to the IOC.”
Coates also offered condolences for Tokyo 2020 executive director of security Katsunori Imai who died this April. A minute of silence was observed by the CoComm.
Written by Aaron Bauer
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