• Kyodo


The fate of several Olympic venues targeted for relocation will likely be decided Tuesday now that the group tasked with hashing out the technical issues has met, an International Olympic Committee executive says.

“We had a lot of work going into more details regarding the venues but also . . . we have looked into a number of areas for which we feel that the IOC can bring a contribution,” Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director for the IOC, said Sunday after the closed-door technical meeting at a Tokyo hotel.

The technical group is part of the four-party talks being held to review the costs of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the behest of the Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike. The final decisions on the venues in limbo will be made by the top representatives of the four parties on Tuesday, Dubi said.

The four parties are the IOC, organizers for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the central government.

The technical group focused on the metro government’s proposals for moving the rowing/canoe sprint, volleyball and swimming events.

Dubi said the group covered temporary construction of facilities, transportation, technology and energy, among other issues and said that “an immense amount of good collaboration was achieved.”

“The result of this work will be presented on Tuesday to the political leaders as it was agreed and scheduled,” he said, noting that international sports federations also took part in the process.

He refrained from leaking any details and repeatedly emphasized that the presentation would constitute details on all options that have been laid out.

“The final decisions will be made by the four political leaders,” he said, adding that if the top representatives want further information afterward, the technical group would oblige. “Whatever they will conclude, we will follow.”

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s cost review panel has recommended multiple options for relocating the venues, including the original but more costly plans or the use of existing venues to cut costs.

The international sports federations affected by Tokyo’s cost-review initiative are protesting the changes.

For rowing/canoe sprint, the panel’s idea to move the venue to the Naganuma rowing course in Miyagi Prefecture is likely to be shelved, sources close to the negotiations said.

That would mean the original plan to build Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay will stand. But Dubi said two models for the new venue are being discussed, thus providing three options.

As for volleyball, the panel appointed by Koike suggested staying with the original plan to build “Ariake Arena” in Tokyo Bay or moving it to Yokohama Arena. But a third option — using Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Shibuya Ward — has since been floated.

Yoyogi gymnasium is hosting the handball event but might be moved to the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba Prefecture, sources said.

Koike’s panel has also proposed reducing the number of seats for a new aquatics center envisioned to host the swimming events in Koto Ward.

But Dubi refrained from commenting on specifics.

“I can’t comment further because this would lead to speculation, which would definitely not help.”

He said the technical group’s task is to provide the political leaders and the public with clear choices that make sense for the athletes, who are “the very heart of the effort,” and from the standpoints of economics and the legacy of the games.

“All parties are really doing their best effort to come up with the best blend of venues that will meet the criteria I just described,” he said.

“It is incredibly important that the commitments made toward the athletes and all participants are being met. It is incredibly important that the legacy of the games is the most positive one we can design,” he said.

Fabio Azevedo, general-director of the International Volleyball Federation, also attended Sunday’s meeting.

Other participants included Toshiro Muto, director-general of the 2020 organizing committee, and Shinichi Ueyama, head of Koike’s cost review panel.

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