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Year before Games, Tokyo better prepared than any city before, IOC says



A year before hosting the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo is better prepared than any other city in the past to host the Games, Olympic chief Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President was in the Japanese capital to attend several high-profile events marking one year until the opening ceremony in the almost-completed National Stadium.

Only three Olympic venues in total remain to be finished.

Around 3.22 million tickets were sold during the first domestic sales phase last month, surprising organisers so much that their sales policy has had to be amended.

“I can really say that I have never seen any Olympic city being so ready with their preparations one year before the Games as Tokyo already is,” Bach told sports officials and journalists gathered for a presentation on Tokyo’s progress.

There were also a performance by traditional Japanese string instrument shamisen players and speeches, including by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“The last six years have passed very quickly, and I am happy to hear that the preparations have been carried out as planned,” said Abe, recalling the award of the Games to Tokyo in Buenos Aires in 2013.

But it has not always been plain sailing.

Tsunekazu Takeda resigned this year as president of the Japanese Olympic Committee following allegations of suspected corruption related to the bid.

In 2015, organisers had to scrap the original logo over accusations of plagiarism.

Budget figures released in December 2018 put total costs at $12.6 billion, well above their original estimate at under $7 billion.

Battle with rising costs may be offset by local sponsorship revenue which has passed $3 billion, more than any other Games.

Tokyo also had to ramp up its heat counter-measures, such as shaded areas, air-conditioned waiting areas and ice baths for athletes, as well as water sprays.

Although this summer has so far been mild and rainy, a record heat wave in July 2018 killed over a dozen people in Tokyo.


(Edited by Olawale Alabi)