Poor supervision behind rising 2020 costs: panel head

Wed Nov 2, 2016 3:34am EDT
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Poor supervision and a lack of clear authority is one reason costs for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have soared to more than four times original estimates, the head of a Tokyo panel tasked with slashing expenses said on Wednesday.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who took office in August, ordered a review of Olympic expenses that recommended changing three venues in an effort to rein in costs projected to hit 3 trillion yen ($28.87 billion), four times initial estimates when the city won the right to host the Games.

Attention has focused on the rowing and canoe/kayak sprint venue, originally set to take place at a new Tokyo facility, the cost of which has surged to around 52 billion yen, nearly seven times higher than the original budget.

The Tokyo review panel headed by Shinichi Ueyama, also a professor at Tokyo's Keio University, on Tuesday proposed changes that could cut as much as 50 billion yen from the total bill.

On Wednesday, he blamed a good part of the situation on a lack of clear oversight of expenses.

"There is no proper mechanism in place to manage the entire budget, a real lack of governance," Ueyama told a news conference.

Ueyama noted that while each organization involved in the Olympics had its own chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer (CFO), they only oversaw the budget for their own group.

"There is nobody who has authority equivalent to a CEO or CFO as there is in a usual company, and this is a source of great concern to us," he added.   Continued...

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks in front of Tokyo 2020 Olympics emblem during an interview with Reuters at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo, Japan, October 12, 2016.    REUTERS/Toru Hanai