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2020 Olympic committee chief seeks cooperation from new Tokyo assembly

Kyodo

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, is asking the new Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly to cooperate in tackling issues related to hosting the games.

“As one who was involved in politics, I had anticipated this (election) outcome, but I never imagined it to be this much,” Mori, a former prime minister, said during a committee meeting in Tokyo on Monday, a day after Gov. Yuriko Koike’s new party handed the ruling Liberal Democratic Party a resounding defeat.

Koike’s Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First) and allies secured a majority in the metropolitan assembly.

After Koike was elected governor last summer, she launched a review of three venues that had already been approved for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics for cost-cutting purposes, causing confusion in the organizing committee.

“The constitution (of the metropolitan assembly) doesn’t matter much — the assembly is the assembly, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the organizing committee is the organizing committee,” Mori said.

“We need to put efforts into proceeding with projects related to the Olympics, just as we have been doing until now,” he added.

He emphasized in particular the need for the metropolitan government to go forward with plans to set up road and transportation systems.

The plan to build a thoroughfare connecting Olympic facilities has been delayed as Koike stalled the decision on the Tsukiji fish market relocation over concerns about pollution at the destination site in the Toyosu area.

Just before the campaign for the election began, Koike said the market will be transferred to Toyosu for five years before returning it to a redeveloped Tsukiji location.

An Olympic official said the election outcome was “positive” in the sense that preparations can now proceed uninterrupted because the next assembly election isn’t due until after the games — in 2021.

An official of the Japanese Olympic Committee said, “Ms. Koike will get a boost (from the election results) and I hope that will also be beneficial for the Olympics.”