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  • Muto Working to Avoid Tokyo 2020 Budget Increase


    (ATR) Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive Toshiro Muto says organizers are “absolutely determined,” to have no increases for the version three budget, but conceded concerns related to extreme weather could drive up costs.

    Muto speaks to the press following his ANOC presentation (ATR)
    Muto’s pronouncement came a month after at the 2018 IOC Session in Buenos Aires Tokyo 2020 announced over $4 billion in budget cuts.

    “Indeed there is areas we are facing the budgeting increasing in the meantime there are certain areas we have been able to make the appropriate budget cuts,” Masa Takaya, Tokyo 2020 spokesperson, said clarifying Muto’s remarks.

    “So, in the end we are absolutely determined that the version three budget not to be exceeded from the already announced $12.6 billion figure.”

    Tokyo 2020 has been plagued with budget concerns in recent months following a report from the Japanese Board of Audits which warned of rising Olympic costs. The board of audits said that Tokyo 2020 had spent over $7 billion, which was the anticipated cost for the Games when the city bid for the Olympics in 2013.

    Quickly, organizers hit back to say that the audit report was misleading about the true costs of the Games, and that ancillary projects were being included in the presented figures.

    It was the second time that Japanese government officials warned of rising costs due to associated projects. Earlier this year Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike said projects needed to reduce barriers for people with impairments in Tokyo would raise costs.

    “We are facing a high demands on the budget due to the unforeseen new items including the countermeasures to the heat weather for example,” Takaya added.

    “For example, last summer we observed the exceptionally hot weather and considering that circumstances the department in charge of that obviously felt it would be necessary to secure even more appropriate budget to [halt] that measure.”

    Takaya said he could not clarify which countermeasures were potentially causing the budget increases. He said that efforts in experimenting with sprinklers and heat reducing pavements were included in past figures.

    Muto said that Tokyo 2020 is dealing with a large demand of new budget items, which has complicated the ongoing efforts to reduce costs for the Games. The third version of the Tokyo 2020 budget is due at the end of the calendar year.

    The second version of the budget put the total costs of the Games at $12.6 billion, which at the time was a reduction of $1.4 billion according to organizers.

    The budget is shared by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, other local municipalities, and the Japanese national government. Tokyo 2020’s budget was set at $5.6 billion, which is raised through local sponsorships, ticket sales, and merchandise.

    Weather concerns are not only impacting the budget, but the event calendar as well. The IOC, Tokyo 2020, and international federations are continuing to discuss the possibility of changing the start time for the Olympic marathon in Tokyo.

    Muto said that it is unlike the IOC Executive Board will make a final decision on moving the marathon when it meets in Tokyo on Nov. 30-Dec. 1. However, Tokyo 2020 will raise the issue with the IOC during the next Coordination Commission meeting on Dec. 3-5.

    Start times as early as 5:30 or 6 o’clock in the morning have been suggested for the marathon to combat extreme heat during Tokyo’s summer days.

    Tokyo Soft Legacy

    Muto briefs the world's NOCs on the state of Tokyo 2020 (ATR)
    Muto briefed reporters following his presentation to the 2018 Association of National Olympic Committees in Tokyo.

    When speaking to NOCs, Muto discussed a variety of topics related to relations to the different committees such as updated transportation and accommodation plans. He also discussed three pillars for the vision of the Olympic project which are youth, public engagement, and Games legacy.

    On Olympic legacy Muto said that Tokyo 2020 will “focus on soft legacy instead of hard legacy,” unlike the 1964 Olympics. Tokyo’s first Olympics brought improved infrastructure to the country that allowed for rapid urbanization and technological development.

    “The Games will bring about social change and create a truly inclusive society for everyone,” Muto said.

    “Tokyo 2020 will be remembered as catalyst for biggest social transformation for Tokyo and Japan in this era.”

    Written and reported in Tokyo by Aaron Bauer

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