POSTED: August 27th 2013
NewsUpdate

ALASTAIR HIMMER: Cash 'in the bank' for Tokyo 2020

Mt. Fuji was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mt. Fuji was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Alastair Himmer is a former sports and lifestyle writer for Reuters who has lived in Tokyo since 1992 and currently working as a freelance journalist, consultant and event promoter /Taka Imai image
Alastair Himmer is a former sports and lifestyle writer for Reuters who has lived in Tokyo since 1992 and currently working as a freelance journalist, consultant and event promoter /Taka Imai image

ALASTAIR HIMMER in TOKYO / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Tokyo's bid leaders have promised they will have immediate access to their Olympic budget of $4.5 billion if the city wins the right to host the 2020 Summer Games.

With Tokyo favorite among the bookmakers to beat rivals Madrid and Istanbul in Sept. 7 vote in Buenos Aires, bid CEO Masato Mizuno insisted Japanese officials would hit the ground running if awarded the Olympics.

"The $4.5 billion hosting fund is cash in the bank," he said, underscoring Tokyo's financial might before a final presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to be boosted by the attendance of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
 
"We can draw from the bank and use it immediately - no problem. It's guaranteed.

"We are extremely confident of our ability to establish our local organizing committee immediately - well within the IOC's five-month requirement," he added.

"Tokyo 2020 represents certainty in uncertain times for sport. (Tokyo) is one of the world's safest and most welcoming cities, has the largest GDP of any city in the world ... and is fully backed by government financial guarantees."

Such an argument is quite likely to gain significant traction within the IOC, faced with the job of tackling spiraling Olympic budgets and overspending amid protests and political jibes in Brazil, Russia and Istanbul.

"We're very healthy," said Mizuno, flavoring his message with Tokyo's favorite buzzwords innovation, invention and technology. "Tokyo is a safe pair of hands. You can rely on us to deliver.

"Our record-breaking corporate sponsorship program - with 21 bid sponsors secured - underscores the Japanese business community's desire to contribute its know-how, technologies and creativity to a dynamic Tokyo 2020.

"It is also a testament to our capability to attract sponsors during the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi are set to become the most expensive ever at over $50 billion, cost overruns are predicted for Rio 2016 and Istanbul's budget of $19 billion dwarfs those of Tokyo and Madrid.

Tokyo, which hosted Asia's first Olympics in 1964 when the government unveiled the Bullet Train to mark the country's emergence as an economic power, lost out to Rio for 2016.

After the deadly tsunami of 2011 Tokyo decided to bid again as a gesture of support for the devastated region of northeast Japan.

"Our vision is clear," said Mizuno, who has clocked up air miles at a dizzying pace in the run-up to Sept. 7 and has his right hand in a protective support having injured schlepping his luggage around with him.

"We are going to make a dynamic downtown celebration and share the power of sport with the whole world."

Staying on message, Mizuno also pointed out that since the Japanese government were now footing the bill for the $1.4 billion makeover of National Stadium, Tokyo 2020 had even more funds at its disposal.

"The $4.5 billion budget (originally) included the main stadium," he said of the space-craft design with retractable roof. "It has since become the national stadium funded (separately) by the government so we have even more reserves.

Pushed one last time on availability of the cash should Tokyo win the 2020 Games, Mizuno flashed his trademark smile and nodded: "It's in the bank."


Keywords · Tokyo 2020 · Olympic bidding · Alastair Himmer


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