National

Governments around Tokyo reluctant to shoulder Olympic construction costs

Kyodo

Prefectural and municipal governments that will host events for the 2020 Olympics jointly warned the organizing committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on Monday not to shift policy and force them to shoulder some of the costs of constructing facilities.

Leaders of 10 governments — six prefectures including Kanagawa, Miyagi and Shizuoka, and four major cities near Tokyo — submitted a letter to Yoshiro Mori, president of the 2020 Olympics organizing committee, and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.

The letter calls for a reaffirmation of the policy, adopted in 2013 during the bidding for the games, that the committee will cover expenditures for the construction of temporary facilities.

The letter follows an agreement reached by the committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in April to review the policy. A research team for the metropolitan government submitted a proposal to Koike in September calling for municipalities that will host events to partially shoulder costs for the construction of temporary facilities to be built outside Tokyo.

“There is a growing sense of unease among municipality organizations,” the letter says.

The organizing committee said last week that total costs for the games are estimated at around ¥1.6 trillion to ¥1.8 trillion.

The organizing committee envisions shouldering ¥500 billion, with the rest covered by the Tokyo, central and regional governments.

The 10 local governments include Saitama and Chiba prefectures, Hokkaido and the cities of Sapporo, Saitama, Chiba and Yokohama.

“We believe that the policy adopted when bidding for the games remains unchanged,” Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa said when he visited the Tokyo government office to hand the letter to Koike.

Saitama Gov. Kiyoshi Ueda, who also visited the office, said, “I’m offended that talks being held about costs even though no one has yet come to us for a formal consultation.”

Koike responded by saying, “We will carefully consider what we can do about this matter.”

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