POSTED: February 4th 2009

Tokyo 2016 sure of the finance

Tokyo's Games vision: in the heart of the city / Image: Tokyo2016
Tokyo's Games vision: in the heart of the city / Image: Tokyo2016

LAURA WALDEN and KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

TOKYO/TAMPA: Tokyo 2016 bid leaders are confident they have all the financing in place to provide perfect reassurance for any IOC members worried about the fall-out from the global financial crisis.

The economic security on which Tokyo bid is founded has been set out by Senior Executive Officer Yosuke Fujiwara in a wide-ranging interview on the Games ambitions of the Japanese city which competes next October in Copenhagen against bids from Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

Fujiwara said: “Our bid is committed to implement a secure budget and we’d like to demonstrate to the IOC the strength of Japan’s bid to host the 2016 Games in the heart of the capital. I think the finances are robust; a reliable financial background is essential to host the Olympic Games and also for the sake of the Olympic moment.

Extensive redevelopment

“The Tokyo government had already allocated US$3.3bn during the last financial year and for the financial year starting in April this year the last quarter of $1.1bn will be added so there will not be any negative influence from this world financial crisis.”

Fujiwara pointed out that, in any case, the overall Tokyo city budget for 2009 is approximately $74bn, the largest budget for any city in the world. He said: “So it can easily absorb the turbulence caused by the present economic situation.”

He is also extremely positive about the extensive city centre redevelopment demanded by Tokyo’s Games layout which stresses “compactness” and convenience for both athletes and spectators. The bid fits neatly into the city government’s Big Change Plan, a 10-year redevelopment project launched in 2006.

Fujiwara said: “This plan was formulated not specifically for the Olympics but to redevelop the city centre and so work has already started. In that sense the 2016 Games would be a catalyst for the development plan and, coincidentally, a big advantage.”

Tokyo’s bid envisages 95pc of the venues being located within a five-mile radius and using many facilities built originally for 1964. Fujiwara does not believe this risks transport and crowd management problems.

“Being compact and being small are too different things,” he said. “Our No1 target is directed especially at the athletes and their support teams and ensuring they have only a short distance to travel to the competition venues from the Olympic Village.

“No2 is so the Olympic family and, especially, spectators can experience more of the world’s greatest sports events and enjoy more of the atmosphere because the Games area is compact to make the atmosphere even more exciting. You experienced something like it in the Olympic green in Beijing and we’d like to create that kind of atmosphere.

“No3 is that this will happen in the heart of the city so this will reach a lot of the inhabitants of Tokyo and will have a very good effect on the children.”

Transport pressure

Tokyo’s world-famous rail and subway system will take the brunt of the transport pressure.  Bid leaders plan on using the existing passenger transport system plus an Olympic transport system with athletes’ shuttle and media shuttle services.

The city’s railway network is about 1,000km – more than 600miles. By comparison, the London underground is 500km in total. It also lays claim to being one of the world’s busiest public transport systems, carrying 23m people every day. Fujiwara asserts this means the addition of the spectators and other people attending the venues will not really affect the existing system.

“We are also planning to enhance our pubic transport capabilities by using our rivers as well as some new underground lines which are planned,” he added. “Another idea of ours to avert congestion is equip spectators’ tickets with microchip technology so they can touch the machine and ride on the rail without paying any cash. This will speed up the movement of spectators.”

Picture (above right): Yosuke Fujiwara at the International Broadcasting Centre in Beijing last summer / Image: Tokyo2016

Keywords · 2016 Olympic Games · Tokyo · Fujiwara · Japan · IOC · International Olympic Committee · Copenhagen

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