IOC urges Tokyo to set budget soon to cut costs further

Fri Dec 2, 2016 5:18am EST
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By Elaine Lies

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

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."

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

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