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IOC takes lead in 4-party panel

The Yomiuri ShimbunOfficials from the International Olympic Committee have grabbed the reins in multiparty talks aimed at reducing the cost of the 2020 Olympics, signaling they would be directly involved in the process, sources said.

The four-party working group, which began meeting Tuesday in Tokyo, also includes officials from the central and metropolitan governments and the organizing committee for the Tokyo games.

IOC President Thomas Bach unexpectedly proposed the idea for the working group to Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike when the two met Oct. 18.

The newly elected governor, who has launched a full review of the plan for the Games, pushed for thorough transparency. However, the working group ended up meeting behind closed doors, reflecting the desires of the IOC, which wants to limit disclosures to only certain parts of the process, the sources said.

The IOC’s position is “an expression of strong discomfort” with the metropolitan government’s research team, which has repeatedly released cost estimates for the Games, the sources said.

The working group is expected to reach a conclusion sometime this month, followed by a final decision to be made at a meeting of Koike, organizing committee Chairman Yoshiro Mori and other top-level officials from the four bodies.

The revised plan would then be referred to the IOC’s coordination commission, which is scheduled to meet in Tokyo on Dec. 1 and 2.

However, the commission’s chairman, John Coates, expressed negative views after the research team released its initial report, indicating that the IOC is unlikely to give up its leadership role.

If the IOC approves baseball, softball, karate, surfing or other additional events at a board meeting scheduled for Lausanne, Switzerland, on Dec. 6 to 8, that would solidify the plan for venues for the Tokyo Games, except for soccer, which may need more venues.

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