On Thursday a Tokyo panel requested for changes to three venues for the 2020 Olympics. This request was made because of the soaring costs. However, the organizers of the Games organizers said that “such changes may prove difficult to instigate in time for the Games.” This was stated in a news report published by the Reuters.
In 2013, in its successful bid to host the Summer Olympic Games, Tokyo, to bolster its chances, boasted of having access to a $4.5 billion to hold the Games. Other front runners in the bid were Madrid and Istanbul. However, contrary to Tokyo’s earlier claims, it’s recently elected governor who was alarmed by the rising costs asked for cost-cutting measures and hence ordered a review of expenses.
The proposed changes by the Tokyo panel could include relocating the venues of rowing and canoeing to a location 400 km from Tokyo. For this proposal to go through it has to get the approval of International Olympic Committee (IOC) and each sport’s international federation. It might be mentioned here that earlier Tokyo, in its bid proposal, had said that some 85 percent of venues would be within 8 km (5 miles) of the Olympic Village in central Tokyo.
The venue change proposals are seen as the latest in the series of broken promises and embarrassing setbacks by the organizers. This is ironical for the fact that that the organizers won the bid largely on Japan’s reputation for efficiency.
According to a preliminary report, which was released on the same day at an executive board meeting of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, overall costs could balloon to more than four times the original estimates of 734 billion yen.
The panel in its report wrote, “Given the current situation, costs could run over 3 trillion yen ($29 billion).”
When Tokyo city won the bid for the 2020 Olympics it said that the Games, would bring in economic benefits of 3 trillion yen to the country and create 150,000 new jobs.
As a cost-cutting measure, the Tokyo panel proposed reconsidering the construction of three new venues — for volleyball, swimming, and rowing/canoeing. According to the panel, instead of building new venues for the above sports older venues can be used in order to save costs. For example, the rowing venue, which was earlier estimated to cost 6.9 billion yen is now expected to be at 49.1 billion yen.
However, the organizers of the Games are not very positive about winning the acceptance of the proposed changes. In a statement Yoshiro Mori, head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said, “These sites were chosen over years and approved by the sports federations and International Olympic Committee. It would be extremely difficult to overturn this.”
Meanwhile, the organizers of the 2020 Olympics have already shifted venues for several events out of the capital which includes sailing and basketball. The organizers have also been forced to dump an initial design for the centrepiece National Stadium which is the site of the opening and closing ceremony because the costs were too high.