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Tokyo urged to relocate 2020 Games venues as costs soar

A Tokyo government panel has urged the organising committee for the Japanese capital’s staging of the 2020 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to relocate some of the venues for the multi-sport event after warning that costs of hosting could soar to over 3 trillion yen (€25.8bn/$29bn).

The panel, appointed by new Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to find ways to save money on hosting the Games, has published a report that recommends venues for rowing and canoeing, swimming and volleyball be moved outside of Tokyo to alternate sites.

Proposals include plans to relocate rowing and canoeing venues to one of three new sites outside of the capital. The report said that the original venue had been estimated to cost 6.9 billion yen, but has since rocketed to 49.1 billion yen.

The panel also put forward proposals for the volleyball and swimming contests to take place in renovated existing venues in downtown Tokyo, close to the Olympic Village.

The Tokyo 2020 bid included plans to have 28 of the 31 venues within a five-mile radius of the Olympic and Paralympic village in the city, with shooting, modern pentathlon and one football stadium the only facilities to be outside of this range. However, soaring costs have led to calls to changes the plans, with Governor Koike keen to look at alternative options.

Speaking in response to the proposals, Yoshiro Mori (pictured), head of Tokyo 2020, hit out at plans, saying the changes would be “extremely difficult” for the organising committee to carry out.

“These sites were chosen over years and approved by the sports federations and International Olympic Committee,” Mori said, according to the Reuters news agency. “It would be extremely difficult to overturn this.”

Any changes to Games venues would need to be approved by the International Olympic Committee.