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Gov. Koike eyes Ariake area development anchored by Olympic volleyball venue

An artist's sketch of the Ariake Arena, which organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are considering building to host the volleyball competition. (Image courtesy of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government)

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has informally decided to develop the Ariake area in the capital's Koto Ward, centering on the planned Ariake Arena Olympic and Paralympic volleyball venue, it has been learned.

Koike had earlier given up on a plan to hold volleyball events at Yokohama Arena in neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture during the 2020 games. With the latest move, all three venues that had been up for review -- for volleyball, rowing and canoe sprints, and swimming -- will be built as originally planned. Koike is expected to announce her decision shortly.

Under the new plan, the volleyball arena will anchor development of the Ariake-kita district as a new waterfront commercial center, where the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hopes to attract shops and businesses, as well as build a gymnastics arena and a BMX course for bicycle and motocross races. The central government has designated part of the Ariake-kita district as a national strategic special economic zone to serve as a hub for international tourism and business events.

At a Nov. 29 meeting among the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Japanese government, it was decided that rowing and canoe sprint events will be held at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay, and swimming events at the Olympic Aquatics Center in Koto Ward. While officials did not make a final decision on the volleyball venue as Gov. Koike was keen on the Yokohama Arena option, she eventually settled for the Ariake Arena plan.

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