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Efforts of entire Japan necessary to prepare for successful 2020 Games

Publication Date : 26-01-2014

 

The organising committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which was launched Friday, will promote preparations in coordination with the International Olympic Committee.

The efforts of the entire nation will be needed to make the Games successful, involving the government, the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Japanese Olympic Committee and business circles.

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori was named head of the organizing committee. Mori, who also serves as head of the Japan Sports Association and Japan Rugby Football Union, has a wide range of personal connections in the sports world. He must take full advantage of these connections to facilitate communication within the organizing committee.

The committee will be tasked with working out basic organising plans by February next year and will take the lead in implementing those plans. It will also undertake public relations activities.

To secure the 300 billion yen (US$2.93 billion) in management funds needed to pay for the Olympics and Paralympics up through their conclusion six years from now, it is necessary to seek sponsorship fees and donations from as many companies as possible. Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda, who has been informally appointed as vice head of the organizing committee, will have to display his ability in this regard.

Toshiro Muto, a former administrative vice finance minister, has assumed the post of secretary general in charge of supervising the practical business aspects of the Games. It will be vital for him to keep in mind the need to use the limited fiscal resources effectively.

Effective use of funds vital

The construction costs for the new National Stadium, which will be built with an injection of funds from state coffers, were initially estimated at 130 billion yen. But it was later found that the cost would balloon to 300 billion yen if the stadium was constructed based on the chosen design. Faced with criticism that this was excessive, the amount was reduced to 170 billion yen by adopting such measures as downsizing the total floor space.

If such over-optimistic estimations occur again, people may come to distrust the entire organising plan.

In line with a contract signed with the IOC, it was decided to launch the organizing committee by early February.

The committee’s inauguration came just days before the deadline. It was delayed until Friday due to the scandal involving former Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose. The governor was supposed to participate in discussions on selecting the organising committee’s chief, but the choice was made without him as a result of his unexpected resignation.

A Tokyo governor bears a heavy responsibility in the organising committee. The new governor to be elected in voting on February 9 will serve as a member of the coordination conference along with Mori, Olympic minister Hakubun Shimomura and JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda, among others, to coordinate important matters.

The new governor also needs to take responsibility over the use of 400 billion yen in funds held by the metropolitan government for construction of athletic facilities. In preparation for the Paralympics, it will also be necessary to build more barrier-free facilities in central Tokyo.

To ensure the smooth management of events, seeking to secure a stable supply of cheap electric power is also a major task for the governor as head of the host city.

US$1 = 102 yen

 

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