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Investigative panel on 2020 Games recommends Tokyo gov't pay for temporary facilities

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government's administrative reform headquarters' Olympics and Paralympics investigative team, which is looking into the expenses and preparations for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, submitted a mid-term report to Gov. Yuriko Koike, in which it suggested that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government foot the bill for the construction and management of temporary facilities that are to be built for the 2020 Games.

    The report, which recommended that a fundamental review be carried out on what roles the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the central government should play leading up to and during the Games, was released at the second meeting of Tokyo's administrative reform headquarters held Sept. 29.

    To keep down costs, the team proposed that the construction of three permanent facilities the Tokyo government has already placed construction orders for be cancelled or scaled back. This includes the suggestion to use the existing Naganuma Boat Race Course in Miyagi Prefecture instead of building the Sea Forest Waterway for canoe-kayak (sprint) and rowing, planned for construction in Tokyo's Koto Ward.

    The investigative team estimates that due to soaring building material prices following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the permanent facilities that are set to be paid for by the Tokyo government will be approximately three times the amount estimated when Tokyo was bidding to host the 2020 Summer Games. The team also estimates that the temporary facilities both within and outside Tokyo that were to be paid for by the Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be 3.5 times the amount estimated when Tokyo submitted its bid.

    Meanwhile, the team puts the expected revenue of the organizing committee at 500 billion yen. When the cost of labor, transport, and construction of pre-fab facilities near the sporting venues is taken into account, the team predicts expenditures will exceed revenue by 100 billion yen to 150 billion yen.

    Based on such findings, the team recommends that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government pay 100 billion yen to 150 billion yen for the Ariake Olympic Gymnastic Centre in Koto Ward -- whose cost was already to be partially footed by the Tokyo government -- and the expenses for another five temporary venues within Tokyo. There had been an agreement when Tokyo was bidding for the 2020 Games that the cost of temporary facilities would be covered by the Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. But the latest recommendation seeks to reverse that agreement.

    The only cost of hosting the Olympics that had been revealed thus far was the approximately 500 billion yen that will be needed to build the new Olympic Stadium and other permanent facilities. Security and management costs had not been made public. Based on figures from the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, the investigative team estimates that expenses not related to the building and maintaining of facilities will total between 1.2 trillion to 1.6 trillion yen.

    The team also pointed out that it was problematic that the roles and responsibilities of the Tokyo government and the organizing committee were unclear, aside from the management of their respective budgets. It proposed that both the Tokyo and the central governments, or one or the other, comprehensively manage the plans, budget, and personnel issues by setting a cap on the total amount of cost. It also suggested the implementation of a framework in which the Tokyo Metropolitan Government would instruct and supervise the organizing committee, and release information to the public.

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