Tokyo is to halve the cost of its bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games following criticism of the $150 million it spent on its failed 2016 Games bid, which is being hosted by Rio de Janeiro.
Bid committee CEO Masato Mizuno told Reuters Friday that Tokyo planned to slash spending and still launch a vastly improved challenge for the 2020 Games.
He said, “that’s my mission. This time we plan to cut the budget in half. The last time was about $150 million. On the first round (of voting) we learned a lot about financial management, so for the second round we have to be much smarter”.
Referring to the massive earthquake and tsunami, Mizuno said, “…after receiving support from the IOC (International Olympic Committee ) and Olympic Council of Asia, we felt we had to bid”.
There are plans to hold sports such as soccer in the disaster-hit northeast Japan. Mizuno said, “it’s been reported in the media soccer will be played in (quake-hit) Sendai. We are examining the possibility.
“Sailing we could also hold anywhere. Our planning team is researching all these possibilities but just having the Olympic Games in Japan will give the whole country a boost, like in 1964”.
But plans to build a gleaming, flying saucer-shaped Olympic stadium on Tokyo Bay, which was outlined in the city’s 2016 bid, could be scrapped. Mizuno said, “the IOC had issues with the seafront stadium because it was surrounded by water on three sides. They were worried about a stampede in the case of an emergency”.
Meanwhile Tokyo’s National Stadium, the main venue for the 1964 Games, would need a major facelift and expansion. Mizuno said, “if the 1964 stadium can be used, I would be happy”. He said no decision has been made regarding the main stadium …”it is under discussion”.
Public support is reportedly hovering above 60 per cent. Mizuno said “seventy per cent is a line we would like to cross”, noting it had hovered around 55 per cent in the run-up to the IOC vote in 2016.
Mizuno promised that the Games budget would be watertight, with $4.8 billion already in the bank, adding that Tokyo’s bid team needed to improve its lobbying skills.
He called it a “very tough race”.