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Tokyo 2020 slashes Olympics budget to $17 bn

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Toshiro Muto has capped the Tokyo 2020 Olympic budget at 1.8 trln yen © AFP/File / Toru Yamanaka

TOKYO, Japan, Dec 21 – Tokyo Olympics organisers unveiled a smaller budget of up to $17 billion on Wednesday after coming under pressure to cut ballooning costs.

The figure, down from last month’s pledge to cap expenditure at $17.78 billion, follows warnings that the bill for the 2020 Games could soar as high as $30 billion.

Organising committee chief executive Toshiro Muto said the entire Games budget will be between 1.6 trillion and 1.8 trillion yen, which he put at $15-16.8 billion.

Under the latest exchange rate, the same yen figure is worth $13.6-15.3 billion. This year’s Rio Games cost $12 billion, while London 2012 came in £8.77 billion or $13.7 billion under the exchange rate of the time.

Wednesday’s figure, the most complete budget yet for Tokyo 2020, comes after officials scrambled to slash the costs of building some Olympic venues.

It was revealed at talks between the Games’ organisers, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo and national governments, who are meeting regularly to try to cut costs.

“This does give the overall picture,” IOC vice-president John Coates said by videolink from Sydney.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium under construction on December 16, 2016 © AFP / Behrouz Mehri

“We are pleased with the progress you are continuing to make,” he said, adding: “We think that we can work with you to find… more savings.”

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who was elected this year vowing to bring down costs, said some 40 billion yen would be saved after a review of the canoeing, volleyball and swimming venues.

Koike said the organising committee and Tokyo and central governments will discuss further specifics early next year, including “cost-sharing”.

In the battle to cut costs, she had proposed moving the canoeing 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Tokyo to Miyagi prefecture, one of the areas hardest hit by Japan’s 2011 tsunami disaster.

But the idea faced resistance from the organising committee, which argued that changing sites was impractical and could end up costing more.

Koike gave up the plan last month and announced that canoeing will stay in Tokyo as planned, but with the venue built at a sharply reduced cost.

In the previous four-way meeting last month, Muto said the organising committee’s working budget was capped at less than two trillion yen ($17.78 billion) and officials are committed to pushing it lower.

But Coates refused to accept the figure and said overall costs would have to come down significantly.2020

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