Int'l Olympic Committee Urges 'Sustainable' Tokyo Games, Lauds Venue Review
IOC VP John Coates "has urged Tokyo to ensure plans for the 2020 Summer Games avoid wasteful construction and welcomed talk of reviewing or possibly scaling back venues," according to Elaine Lies of REUTERS. Japanese officials, led by Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe, said "earlier this month that rising labour and construction costs were forcing the Japanese capital to rethink its plans for 10 venues it intended to build for the Games." Some of the proposed changes include "using existing venues outside central Tokyo instead of building new ones downtown." Coates: "We want to see venues that are sustainable, and sustainable legacies." Tokyo's bid emphasized a war chest of some $4.5B "and pledged to keep most competition sites within 8km of the Olympic Village in downtown Tokyo." But skyrocketing construction and labor costs, partly as a result of the '11 disaster that "devastated a wide swathe of Japan's northeastern coast" and partly due to a hike in consumption tax, "prompted officials to call for the review." Japanese media said that in one case -- the kayak/canoe sprint venue -- new estimates came in 15 times higher than original plans, "which had not taken into account costs for building a dam and moving part of a waste disposal facility currently on the site" (REUTERS, 6/27).