TOKYO — The International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo organizing committee wrapped up a two-day project review on Wednesday vowing to cut costs for the 2020 Games and address concerns over water pollution in Tokyo Bay.
IOC vice-president John Coates said the IOC needs to see cuts of $1 billion from the $12 billion budget. Coates said he saw potential for cost reduction in 11 of the 14 areas that were discussed during the meetings.
"That’s the target that we think should be achievable not just by Tokyo but by all summer organizing committees," said Coates, who chairs the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. "What we are trying to do is create a situation where there is no strain on the public purse."
For example, Coates said IOC data from previous games shows that Olympic family lounges operate at only 40 per cent capacity, meaning Tokyo organizers could save money on staffing such facilities.
The IOC is seeking to make the games more affordable as part of President Thomas Bach’s "Agenda 2020" reforms. In a bid to cut costs, Tokyo organizers have moved several events to existing facilities in neighbouring prefectures.
In late May, local governments outside Tokyo that are to host competitions agreed with the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Japanese government and games organizers on basic principles concerning cost sharing.
Yoshiro Mori, the head of the 2020 Tokyo Games organizing committee who also took part in the meetings, said it will be important to explore cost cutting "based on the framework" reached in May.
Mori said that while there have been some heated debates on the cost-cutting efforts, all sides agree that the ultimate goal of delivering the best possible games should be adhered to.
Meanwhile, a recent water quality survey at the venue for marathon swimming and triathlon found E. coli bacteria at concentrations up to 21 times the level permitted by the sport’s governing body, the Tokyo metropolitan government said.
The metropolitan officials attributed the excessive reading to a record rainfall in the Japanese capital in August when there were 21 consecutive days of rain.
Precipitation exceeding the processing capacity of sewage facilities can cause sewage water diluted by rain to be discharged into the ocean.
Tokyo organizers have ruled out moving the venue and said they plan to implement water quality improvement measures in advance of the games.
"We are conscious that due to exceptionally bad weather this summer, the readings were not what they should be," Coates said. "We are looking for reports from the Tokyo municipal government as to what they are planning to do to ensure that even in worst of conditions those matters will be addressed and the health of the athletes in those two sports will not be prejudiced in anyway."