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  • Mori Asks Tokyo 2020 to Stay Humble


    (ATR) Tokyo 2020 organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori says that all parties must “not be conceited” after a week of lofty statements by the IOC to Japanese counterparts.

    Mori, right, before the Tokyo 2020 CoComm (ATR)
    The IOC Coordination Commission will meet with Tokyo 2020 over the next three days for a series of operational meetings. A number of key decisions could emerge from the meeting, such as moving events around because of “extreme weather” concerns.

    Tokyo 2020 and the IOC will discuss how to go forward in preparing the Olympic boxing tournament, despite a mandated freeze in communication with the International Boxing Association.

    “There were so many words of praise but we will not be conceited about that,” Mori said of the IOC’s words to Tokyo during meetings of the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly and IOC Executive Board.

    During that time IOC President Bach said that he could not recall “an Olympic city being as ready as Tokyo is 18 months out from the Games”. Bach reiterated that message of support to ANOC, the Executive Board, selected Tokyo 2020 staff, and once again to the Coordination Commission opening.

    “We have a saying ‘we should never relax a moment for relaxing preparations,’ so difficulties may await us,” Mori added.

    “We have to be reminded of the upcoming uncertainties and challenges that we may be faced with, so I interpret the words of praise in that way.”

    Mori likened another visit of the Coordination Commission to family members coming to visit from far away. Despite his advanced age, Mori jokingly referred to CoComm chair John Coates as his “grandfather” and Bach as his “uncle”.

    Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike, Olympics and Paralympics minster Yoshitaka Sakurada, and Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama also delivered remarks to the coordination commission.

    Thomas Bach waves to members of the IOC CoComm (ATR)
    Minister Sakurada touched on plans for improving security measures in the realm of cyber security ahead of Tokyo 2020, and the “sense of ownership” towns around the country are taking to be part of the Games.

    Sakurada’s attempt at cyber security reform has drawn criticism in Japan after he made statements saying that he personally does not use a computer. A recent poll done by JNN showed that 63 percent of Japanese people opposed Sakurada’s job in the Diet.

    Communication Breakdown

    Tokyo 2020 CoComm chair John Coates said another issue that the commission and Tokyo 2020 must address is communicating budget concerns to the Japanese people.

    Version three of the Tokyo 2020 budget is due in the coming month. The IOC and Tokyo 2020 have touted cost savings of over $4 billion in recent months, but CEO Toshiro Muto admitted those budget cuts could be offset by costs used to combat weather concerns.

    Muto said that the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee budget would be fully balanced, but would not speculate on the budget from the TMG and National Government, which is also included. Version two of the budget put the total costs of the 2020 Olympics at around $12 billion.

    Coates, right, chats with Tokyo Governor Koike (ATR)
    A report from the Japanese board of audits this year said that the total spending for the 2020 Olympics has risen to over $7 billion since 2013. This was equivalent to the total estimated cost for the 2020 Olympics made during the bid for the Games. Media reports that followed suggested with all projects associated the 2020 Olympics could cost as much as $20 billion for Japan.

    Tokyo 2020 and the IOC immediately criticized the report for being too broad in what constituted an Olympic project. It was the second time this year that government officials broadened the scope of costs associated with the Games. In January Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike said new efforts towards making Tokyo more barrier-free should be included as a Games cost.

    Coates referred to the money being spent by the Japanese government in all levels as the “legacy investment”. It is part of a messaging blitz by the IOC to paint government money being spent for the Games not as an Olympic cost, but an investment being done for the people of the country.

    “We know that we have to continue to ensure the public understands there is a clear delineation between the operating costs of the Games and the legacy investment that is taking place for these Games,” Coates said to the CoComm.

    “The message that we have to get through is that the operating budget will be covered. There will be no drain on the public purse. I don’t think that message has gone through sufficiently and that is something our communication people and Tokyo 2020 has got more work to do to get that through.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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