On 28 to 30 June the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission met with the organising committee of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) to visit venues and discuss hosting plans.
The IOC gave a very positive appraisal of Tokyo’s budget, Games infrastructure and ability to reach new audiences.
Earlier this year, Tokyo responded to pressure to minimise the cost of hosting the Games by reducing the budget from US$18.1bn to $12.9bn, comprising US$5.6bn for the organising committee and further expenditure by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese National Government.
During meetings with the Coordination Commission, these organisations affirmed their commitment to work with the IOC to find further opportunities to reduce cost. The Coordination Commission also noted Tokyo’s 2020’s ability to generate revenue.
“Planning is going extremely well; it is exceptionally detailed and precise; and Tokyo’s commercial programme is remarkable,” said IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates. “We do not have any concerns about this.
“We continue to work with the Organising Committee, led by President Mori, and all of the local stakeholders to ensure that the Games are a force for good. We encourage our Japanese friends to engage with young people and inspire their citizens, while also identifying additional efficiencies to reduce the overall Games budget.”
The IOC said in a statement the Coordination Commission was “impressed with the Japanese host city’s plans to bring the Games to new audiences.”
These efforts include projects to engage the whole country in the build up to the Games and a renewed focus on gender balance, youth and urban events in the sports programme.
“The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will not only inspire the world during 16 days of competition but will bring new audiences to the Games and their values in the lead-up”, said Coates.
“With the support of Tokyo 2020, we recently added 15 events to the Olympic programme, delivering greater gender equality and more of an urban and youth focus, while reducing the overall number of participants. Our discussions this week have highlighted several ways in which this significant step forward will benefit the athletes and allow Tokyo to involve people who might not necessarily have been interested in the Games before.
“The ongoing work on an urban feel in the waterfront zone, pre-Games engagement activities, and Tokyo 2020’s athletes first focus means that we leave Tokyo excited about what the future holds for these Olympic Games.”
Ways of involving Japanese citizens in preparing for the Games include donating old electronic devices to be used to create medals, and participating in a nationwide flag tour.
At the Olympic Village, the Coordination Commission members were briefed on the “uniquely Japanese experience” that the athletes will receive in 2020.
The IOC noted that planning and construction for the National Stadium are proceeding on budget and on track for completion in November 2019. At 72,400 sq m, this is Tokyo 2020’s largest competition venue construction project, set to have 3,000 workers on site at the height of construction.
The IOC said “Tokyo 2020 has been able to benefit significantly from the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020. This is reflected not only in the modernisation of the Olympic programme, but also in the ability to help it to invest as efficiently as possible in the organisation of the Games, such as the approximately USD 2.2 billion of savings from the revised construction budget.”
The itinerary included a stop at the downtown Aomi Sports Cluster, where by sport climbing, skateboarding, and Paralympic Football 5-a-side athletes hoping to compete in Tokyo 2020 expressed their excitement at being a part of the Games.
“It was my first visit to the venue site for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” said IFSC Climbing World Championship bronze medallist Akiyo Noguchi. “Today’s visit made me feel that this is becoming a reality, and I am now totally determined. I would love to climb the wall right here three years from now.”
“I have never taken part in a skateboarding contest in a venue this size – the audiences are going to be huge,” said 15 year-old skateboarder Nishimura. “I think it will be a good opportunity to show everyone what kind of sport skateboarding is. I am looking forward to it.”
Responsibility to athletes
Other areas of Games preparations discussed included services to athletes, National Olympic Committees, International Federations, the media and spectators; marketing; and the Paralympic Games.
“We had very productive discussions at the Coordination Commission meetings this week,” said Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo Organising Committee. “I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to the members of the Commission for their valuable advice.
“The young rising athletes who came to meet us on Wednesday at the Aomi Sports Cluster, where their sports events will take place in three years, told us with such excitement about their dreams and expectations for Tokyo 2020. It reminded me of all the other young athletes around the world who are working very hard towards their dreams. I felt once again the importance of my responsibility to them. We will continue to strive to deliver successful Olympic Games, and display the value of sports to the world.”