Tokyo Gov. Masuzoe starts Tokyo Marathon 2015 (Photo: Tokyo Gov.)
Regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, euphoria appears to have evaporated and reality has set in. It looks like Japan is moving to “Plan B.” This has taken two forms, first wrangling about the cost and design of the Olympic Stadium on which construction is scheduled to start this October, and cost-cutting changes in venues for several events.
This week ( 9 June 2015) the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced its approval for a change of venue for seven sports as a cost-cutting measure. This, of course, changes the proposals put forward in Tokyo’s bid for the games which entailed keeping the venues close to the Olympic Village.
The debate over the new stadium first started with criticism by Japanese architects over the design and cost of the stadium. Modifications in size and design have been discussed, and the retractable roof has been scrapped to save money.
Last month, (May 18) Tokyo mayor Yoichi Masuzoe met with sports minister Hakubun Shimomura and sparks flew. Organizers want Tokyo to pay ¥50 billion of the ¥150 billion cost of the stadium. Masuzoe gave no concrete answer to the request, but blasted the organizers for their opaque decision making process which he compared to the WWII Japanese military’s style of managing information.
As for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the games will go on, and venues will be ready. Japan is a country that can be counted on to get things done, and this is probably one big reason that the IOC chose Tokyo. However, the road to 2020 does not look like a smooth one. Please log in and give us your opinion on this matter.
Japan Times Report