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Tokyo 2020 chief pledges to reduce costs for Olympic Games

Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the organising committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has today (Wednesday) pledged to keep the total costs of hosting the sporting spectacle below Y2tr (€16.6bn/$17.6bn).

Muto’s (pictured) comments come following the conclusion of a three-day meeting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), during which organisers discussed a number of issues, such as the rising costs of staging the Games.

Earlier this month, the Tokyo metropolitan government projected that the total cost could be upwards of Y3tr, with construction costs in the Japanese capital having soared since the city placed its bid in 2011 and secured the Games in 2013.

The IOC is keen to avoid the issues encountered by Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the host of this year’s Olympics, which was forced to make cuts right up to the opening of the Games, as the country went into severe recession after being awarded the event in 2009.

“We’re committed to reducing costs,” Muto said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “The city government, the national government and the organising committee must all work together.”

However, IOC vice-president John Coates said that the Y2tr figure is still too high and urged organisers to find ways to cut costs further. Muto said that the organising committee will work towards this and has already identified a number of cost-cutting alternatives, including keeping with original venue plans for rowing, canoeing and swimming events.

"The figure of Y2tr is a starting point,” Muto said. “From there we will move to reduce it further. Mr. Coates has said it should be lower and we agree with that.”

Coates, who is heading the IOC's coordination commission for the Tokyo Games, said issues regarding costs should be resolved quickly to avoid problems later on. He added: “The sooner you get out there and arrive at entering into your various procurement contracts to commence construction then the cheaper it’s going to be.”