TOKYO (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is set to meet Tokyo’s outspoken governor pushing for changes to some of the planned venues for the 2020 Games.
Bach arrived Tuesday in Japan amid growing tension between Olympic organizers and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike over her cost-cutting proposals. They include moving a rowing and canoeing venue relocation to northern Japan after the estimated costs for the current site rose to seven times more than the initial estimate.
“We will talk with the organizing committee, we will talk with the governor, and afterward you will be informed and you will see we will have very constructive talks and in the end we will have excellent Olympic Games in 2020,” Bach told reporters.
Koike’s proposal came after a panel of independent experts reviewed venues and costs.
Tokyo organizers object to a possible change, arguing the venue should remain at the planned Sea Forest Waterway.
They said the existing facility that Koike proposes in Miyagi lacks infrastructure, accommodation for spectators and will be inconvenient for athletes.
They also said the final construction cost for the Sea Forest Waterway will likely be lower than original estimates, while additional cost for transportation, security and infrastructure needed for any Miyagi relocation would add up.
Already, venues for basketball, taekwondo and cycling have been moved outside of Tokyo to maximize existing facilities. Cycling was moved to Izu, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of the capital.
Tokyo won the right to host the games in 2013 by promising a compact bid with 28 of the 31 competition venues within a five-mile (eight-kilometer) radius of the Olympic Village. Originally, only shooting, modern pentathlon and one soccer venue were to be outside the radius.
Follow Mari Yamaguchi at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi
Find her work also at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/mari-yamaguchi