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IOC urges Tokyo to set budget soon to cut costs further
December 2, 2016 / 9:40 AM / a year ago

IOC urges Tokyo to set budget soon to cut costs further

TOKYO (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has called on Tokyo to show a sense of urgency about finalizing its budget for the 2020 Summer Games, noting that costs will continue to increase the longer it takes

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President and Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Games John Coates (R) and Yoshiro Mori, head of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics organising committee attend at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

At an open meeting for a four-party working group that includes the IOC on Tuesday, Tokyo 2020 organizers vowed to keep costs below $20 billion but the Olympic authority felt even that amount was too high.

A budget review by Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who took office in July, said costs could surge to more than 3 trillion yen ($26.36 billion), more than four times initial estimates made when Tokyo won hosting rights.

IOC Vice President John Coates, in Tokyo for a meeting of Olympic planners and the working group meeting, told a news conference that there were ways that Tokyo, hosting the Summer Games for a second time, could pare costs even further.

“The IOC just isn’t going to sign off on a budget that we think exceeds what’s needed for the cost of the games,” he said.

Tokyo is an expensive city in terms of rental for existing venues and other costs, but he said there were still savings to be made... and the sooner decisions were made, the better.

“There can be significant savings made in security and many other areas if the procurement starts earlier,” he added. “The longer you leave entering into contracts, the more expensive the contracts are going to be.”

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President and Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Games John Coates (L) and Yoshiro Mori, head of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics organising committee shake hands as they pose to journalists after their news conference in Tokyo, Japan, December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Tokyo organizers said this week they would draw up a final budget by the end of the year.

Coates said the two days of talks that ended on Friday also decided venues for the five new sports to be added to the program from 2020, with baseball and softball to take place mainly in the neighboring city of Yokohama.

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Of the others, Karate will be held in the venerable Budokan, built for the 1964 Summer Olympics in the Japanese capital and the setting for numerous iconic concerts since.

He added that “continuing good progress” had been made in the preparations.

Games organizers have run into a series of broken promises and problems in their preparations, including scrapping the original design for the centerpiece National Stadium as well as the first logo after allegations that it was plagiarized.

Work finally began on the stadium this week, more than a year behind schedule.

($1 = 113.8200 yen)

Reporting by Elaine Lies

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