The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board today approved the proposed Fukushima Azuma stadium as an additional baseball and softball venue, following the initiative of IOC President Thomas Bach to hold some of the sporting events of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in the disaster-affected area in the Tohoku region.
“This is a great opportunity to bring the spirit of the Olympic Games to this region, which was affected by the tsunami in 2011”, said the IOC President in a press conference today.
“It is also an expression of solidarity of the Olympic Movement with the people in this region who are suffering from the consequences of this disaster. We are really happy that we could approve this, following the discussions I had during my last visit to Japan with Prime Minister Abe,” he added.
This is a great opportunity to bring the spirit of the Olympic Games to this region, which was affected by the tsunami in 2011.Thomas Bach IOC President
The Yokohama Stadium will be the other baseball and softball venue, as approved during the last Executive Board meeting in December.
The first version of the Organising Committee budget was released at the end of 2016 and remains balanced. “We have been informed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government that the Olympic Games in Tokyo would have an economic impact of around USD 28 billion, which is an impressive number,” Bach pointed out.
Following the consultations of the Four-Party Working Group last year, which consists of the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese government, further savings have been made and a continued focus on cost optimisation will aim to ensure a further reduction in the overall Games budget. “The Four-Party Working Group is continuing its work and is making significant progress,” Bach noted.
The issue around the membership rules of the golf club, which is supposed to be a Games venue, is also being followed closely, with a meeting of the club’s executive board expected in the coming weeks.
“The Executive Board made it clear that the Olympic Games are about non-discrimination in every respect,” said Bach. “We were pleased to hear that the executive board of the golf club is meeting to discuss the proposed changes and then to hopefully grant the same rights to women so that we can have gender quality and approve this venue. Should gender equality not be respected, then we would look for another venue that would ensure non-discrimination.”
The Tokyo 2020 delegation also updated the IOC Executive Board on the construction of the new Olympic Stadium, which is proceeding on schedule. Of the eight other new venues, the Musashino Forest Sport Centre, which will host badminton, modern pentathlon and rugby, is nearing completion, with the others in varying stages of design and construction. The finalisation of the venues for football is expected in the coming months.
Finally, Tokyo 2020 also presented its plans for ongoing activities such as the Olympic Torch Relay, the branding strategy and the volunteer strategy.