Key LDP members wary of cost of 2008 Olympics

Several senior lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said May 6 they are concerned over the financial burden of hosting the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Masakuni Murakami, the LDP’s secretary general in the Upper House, said during a party executive meeting that the nation cannot afford to host the Games amid its earnest efforts at financial reconstruction. “The candidacy is just like pouring cold water into the national efforts toward fiscal reconstruction,” Murakami told the meeting.

Kanezo Muraoka, chairman of the LDP Diet Affairs Committee, echoed Murakami’s view and said up to 3 trillion yen would be necessary for infrastructure preparation for the Olympics. Hiromu Nonaka, deputy secretary general of the party, expressed a similar opinion.

Yokohama and Osaka have submitted bids to be Japan’s candidate to host the Games. Yoshiyuki Kamei, deputy chief policymaker of the LDP who is also pushing Yokohama’s bid to host the Games, said that a huge budget wouldn’t be necessary if the event is held in his city, because existing facilities would be sufficient.