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Conclusion to Olympic, Paralympic review plans expected shortly: Tokyo Gov. Koike

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike enters the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly floor to face questions by faction leaders in Shinjuku Ward on Oct. 4, 2016. (Mainichi)

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told the metropolitan assembly meeting on Oct. 4 that the capital will work on drawing a conclusion on reviews of plans for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which were suggested by an investigative panel, in about a month.

She made the comment in her first appearance at a question-and-answer session by heads of the assembly factions.

Koike explained that the conclusion will be drawn based on the second report by the panel expected by the end of October.

The Olympics and Paralympics investigative team at the metropolitan government's administrative reform headquarters warned of the possibility of the 2020 Games costing more than 3 trillion yen if the plans are to be left unchanged in an interim report released on Sept. 29. The group suggested three venues, including the one for canoeing and rowing events in the Tokyo Bay area, be moved to alternative sites with the metropolitan government paying for the cost of building temporary venues. The report also cast doubt on the unclear roles taken by different organizations over the budgets for the games.

"The clock is ticking (until the Tokyo Games) and this is the last chance to review the plans in the light of effectively using taxpayers' money," Koike told the assembly. She also suggested the metropolitan government's involvement with the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games be re-examined, saying, "Reviews on non-construction-related spending and setting limits on the overall budget are some of the important topics that needs to be considered." She made the remarks in response to a question by Komeito faction secretary-general Kunihiro Higashimura.

Meanwhile, on the missing soil base beneath the new Toyosu market site in Koto Ward, Koike blamed "the lack of a sense of responsibility among metropolitan government staff."

"The Tokyo government betrayed the trust of the assembly and those concerned with the market. The slack mentality within the metropolitan government is critical," Koike commented, suggesting that she will implement reform measures to raise awareness among metropolitan government employees.

To a question asked by Kei Takagi, secretary-general of a metropolitan assembly faction led by the Liberal Democratic Party, over her campaign pledge to dissolve the metropolitan assembly as soon as she was elected governor, Koike avoided specifics, but rather said, "I expressed my determination to dissolve the assembly and seek the opinions of the people of Tokyo in case the assembly passed a no-confidence motion (against me)."

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