Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Top-level officials of the four parties involved in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics decided on Tuesday to newly build venues for the rowing and canoe sprint and swimming events at the Games.
The decision was made at the summit meeting of the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Japanese government, held to review venue plans to trim the costs of the quadrennial international sports event.
Participants at the four-way meeting in Tokyo decided to hold the rowing and canoe events at the Sea Forest Waterway to be built in the Tokyo Bay area. For swimming, the Olympic Aquatics Center will be built in Tokyo’s Koto Ward as planned.
They also agreed to curb the maintenance costs for the Sea Forest Waterway to around ¥30 billion from the initially planned ¥49.1 billion.
In addition, the number of seats at the Aquatics Center will be reduced to 15,000 from 20,000, and total costs will be cut to ¥51.3 billion from ¥68.3 billion by not conducting work to downsize the facility after the Games.
Meanwhile, the four parties postponed until around Dec. 25 a decision on whether to construct the Ariake Arena for the volleyball events also in Koto Ward, or use the existing Yokohama Arena in Yokohama.
As for the rowing and canoe events, the metropolitan government’s panel to review Tokyo Games costs had proposed an option of using existing Naganuma Boat Park in Tome, Miyagi Prefecture, instead of building the new facility.
While rejecting the option, the top officials of the four parties agreed to make the Naganuma park a training camp site for participants in the events.
Also at the meeting, the organizing committee showed its estimate that up to ¥2 trillion will be necessary to hold the 2020 Games. But IOC Vice President John Coates called for further efforts to cut costs, saying that the shown amount is too high.
Coates also suggested that more sporting events be held in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in Fukushima Prefecture to cheer up people in the northeastern Japan prefecture struggling to recover from devastation caused by not only the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami but the subsequent nuclear accident.
The organizing committee and other entities are already planning to hold the baseball and softball events in Fukushima ahead of the Olympics.