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Koike suggests leaving venue options open for rowing/canoe events at 2020 Games

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike suggested that Tokyo might not narrow down candidate sites for Olympic and Paralympic rowing/canoe events to one before proposing revisions to the venue plans to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"We need to cooperate with the IOC and other organizations and if Tokyo says, 'We're going with this venue,' but is unable to coordinate a plan, the situation will be back to square one. I'm not sure if we should pinpoint the venue," Koike told a regular news conference on Oct. 21 about reconsidering the initial venue, Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay, for rowing and canoe sprint events at the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

A cost investigative team at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's administrative reform headquarters earlier suggested a fundamental review on three venues for the games. It narrowed down candidate sites for rowing/canoe events to two by Oct. 20 -- Sea Forest Waterway and Naganuma rowing course in the Miyagi Prefecture city of Tome.

Meanwhile, IOC President Thomas Bach told Koike on Oct. 18 that it is important to maintain the rules after a site is picked, apparently trying to keep Tokyo in check over potential relocation of the venue from the initial plan. On his comment, Koike said at the Oct. 21 conference, "The fact that Naganuma (rowing course) volunteered to host the events is already meaningful in terms of holding the 2020 Games as a 'disaster recovery Olympics.'"

The report submitted by the metropolitan government's investigative team suggests that Tokyo should pay the cost for construction of temporary facilities (up to 150 billion yen) in the capital that are to be dismantled after the games are over. Koike handed the report translated into English to Bach, but the translated version could be interpreted as the investigative team's suggestion was a decision made by the metropolitan government as the report bears "Governor's Office" as the party responsible for compiling it.

Koike emphasized that it was a suggestion made by the team and not the metropolitan government's decision, saying at the news conference, "It's a report compiled by the review panel. I corrected that part at the meeting (with Bach)."

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