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Metro gov't team proposes Tokyo 2020 cost trimming, 4 events be held at 5 facilities

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike addresses the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's administrative reform headquarters at the outset of a meeting at the metropolitan government headquarters in Shinjuku Ward, on Nov. 1, 2016. (Mainichi)

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government administrative reform headquarters proposed on Nov. 1 that four Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics events, including swimming and volleyball, be held at five facilities, sources close to the local body said.

The proposal was made to Gov. Yuriko Koike at a meeting of the headquarters on Nov. 1. The governor is set to approve the proposal as the metro government's final plan, and refer it to a four-party working group comprised of the Tokyo government, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the central government at a meeting from Nov. 1 to 3.

"There are time constraints, but I'd like you to coordinate your views over multiple plans," Gov. Koike said at the end of the headquarters meeting.

The final proposal concludes that the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center in Koto Ward, which a headquarters investigation team recommended for swimming events in an interim report in September, is inappropriate as a venue.

"There are limits to installing additional seats at the center to make it a holy site for swimming," the final proposal says.

In addition, the final plan recommended that the seating capacity at the Olympic Aquatics Centre in Koto Ward be either 20,000 as currently planned or 15,000. It stated the costs for both plans could be reduced if a plan to downscale the facility after the games was cancelled.

The final plan proposes that rowing and canoe sprint events be held either at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay and the Naganuma Boat Race Course in Miyagi Prefecture.

The headquarters has laid out two options for the Sea Forest Waterway -- one to reduce construction expenses from the original estimate of 49.1 billion yen to 32.8 billion yen, and the other to cut the costs further to 29.8 billion yen by making the facility temporary.

The final proposal retains the Naganuma course as a candidate venue on the grounds that the Tokyo metropolitan and Miyagi prefectural governments are cooperating over the possible use of the course for the Olympics.

Under the proposal, volleyball events would be held at a new Ariake Arena in Koto Ward and the existing Yokohama Arena in Yokohama.

The plan states that the costs of building Ariake Arena can be reduced from the estimated 40.4 billion yen to some 37 billion yen. The metropolitan government has already signed a contract on the designing and construction of the facility.

As for the Yokohama Arena, work to expand the facility such as boosting the seating capacity to 15,000 would cost no more than 700 million yen or so, according to the proposal, while it points out that there are some challenges, such as securing access routes.

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