Bach says no need to expand 4-party talks on Tokyo costs

IOC President Thomas Bach on Wednesday rejected calls to expand four-party talks aimed at reducing the costs of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Bach said negotiations between the International Olympic Committee, Tokyo organizers, the city government and Japan’s central government should result in cost reductions.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike had suggested including international and national sports federations in the four-party talks but Bach said the makeup of the group has been agreed on.

“We have an agreement about this four-partite working group,” Bach said. “And this was very well perceived by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and by the governor, and we will follow this agreement we had yesterday.”

A Tokyo government panel set up by Koike said the cost of the Olympics could exceed $30 billion — four times the initial estimate — unless drastic cuts are made.

Bach is in Japan amid growing tension between Olympic organizers and Koike, who is pushing to cut costs. The city panel also proposed moving three sports from planned new venues to existing ones — including relocating rowing to a site hundreds of miles outside the capital.

The IOC has suggested the possibility of moving rowing to an existing site in South Korea in case there is no resolution over the Japanese venue, the Asahi newspaper reported, quoting unidentified Japanese sources as saying. The South Korean venue in Chungiu City hosted the 2013 world championships and rowing at the 2014 Asian Games.

Speaking at Tokyo 2020 headquarters, Bach did not address reports of the rowing and canoe sprint events possibly being moved to South Korea.

Bach also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday and discussed the possibility of staging some Olympic events in the northeastern region of Japan hit by the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima disaster.

“Baseball and softball were some of the options under discussion,” Bach said.

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