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Areas outside capital hosting Olympic events want Tokyo to stick to cost pledges

Ten local governments outside Tokyo, which will host some events in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, urged organizers on Dec. 26 to abide by the basic principles on costs specified in a candidature file that Japan submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in January 2013.

Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai, Saitama Gov. Kiyoshi Ueda, Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa, Chiba Gov. Kensaku Morita and senior officials of the concerned local bodies submitted the written request to Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike at the metropolitan government headquarters. Three governors excluding Ueda submitted a similar document to Yoshiro Mori, head of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, at the panel's office in Tokyo. The 10 local governments are six prefectures and four ordinance-designated cities.

In response, Gov. Koike said she will hold consultations with concerned local bodies at the beginning of next year and said the metropolitan government is prepared to show the basic framework for the sharing of costs by the end of this fiscal year. "We'll consider what the metropolitan government can do to the maximum extent. As the local government responsible for hosting the games, we'd like to do our best," she said.

The written request titled, "The division of roles and the sharing of costs toward holding the games," states that "we have agreed to host some events so that 'all of Japan' can boost the games and make them a success."

The 10 local bodies then urged the organizing committee to abide by the principles specified in the candidature file, which states that the organizing committee will foot the cost of preparing temporary venues and remodeling existing facilities to meet Olympic and Paralympic standards, while the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and other concerned parties will cover the expenses of building new permanent facilities.

The 10 prefectural and municipal governments pointed out that a proposal made by an investigation team within the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's administrative reform headquarters in September to review the sharing of costs has caused concern to relevant local bodies. The team proposed that the cost of venues for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic events to be held outside Tokyo should be footed by the national government and the local bodies that will host the events.

Gov. Kuroiwa said the 10 local bodies agreed to host some events in the Olympics and Paralympics based on the principles specified in the candidature file. "Some local bodies offered to host part of the games and others have been selected as sites. Although there are some differences in opinions between the local governments, we fundamentally share the view that our decisions are based on the principles in the candidature file," he said.

The organizing committee announced on Dec. 21 that the total cost of holding the 2020 Games is estimated at 1.6 trillion to 1.8 trillion yen.

Of 280 billion yen needed to prepare temporary facilities for the games, 200 billion yen is supposed to be footed by organizations other than the organizing committee.

In March this year, Mori, then Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe and then State Minister in charge of the Olympics and Paralympics Toshiaki Endo agreed to review the principles of the sharing of costs specified in the candidature file. However, discussion on the sharing of costs has since been suspended.

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