Olympics: Tokyo 2020 venue options to be discussed

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks in front of Tokyo 2020 Olympics emblem during an interview with Reuters at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo on Oct 12, 2016.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks in front of Tokyo 2020 Olympics emblem during an interview with Reuters at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo on Oct 12, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - An International Olympic Committee (IOC) official said Sunday (Nov 27) that detailed options for moving some Tokyo 2020 venues will be presented this week at a key four-party meeting.

Tokyo is eyeing ways to save money after warnings that skyrocketing costs could hit an eye-watering $30 billion - four times the initial estimate and almost triple that of the 2012 London Olympics.

Options include relocating venues for canoeing and rowing as well as volleyball, and scaling back plans for a new swimming venue.

"We certainly have made a lot of progress in terms of acquiring more information for each of the options," Christophe Dubi, IOC executive director, told reporters.

"But the final decisions will be made by the four political leaders." Dubi spoke after a technical meeting of officials from the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the central government.

The officials were preparing for a top-level gathering on Tuesday at which the detailed options will be presented for consideration.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and IOC chief Thomas Bach agreed last month to set up the working group to try to control costs.

Dubi said earlier this month the rowing and canoeing could take place in Miyagi prefecture, 400km north of Tokyo, and the volleyball in Yokohama south of the capital, following recommendations from a Koike-appointed panel of experts.

But Tokyo officials have faced resistance from 2020 organisers who argue that moving some of events to Miyagi, which was badly hit by Japan's 2011 tsunami disaster, could actually cost more because the region lacks the proper infrastructure.

Japanese media reports have said the option of moving the venues has been ruled out.