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Politics

Tokyo gov sets ceiling on Olympic spending

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike

TOKYO -- Staging the 2020 Summer Olympics here will cost no more than 3 trillion yen ($28.1 billion), and preferably much less, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told The Nikkei on Thursday.

Facilities costs were estimated at around 730 billion yen at the time of Tokyo's host city bid. But an expert panel set up by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government at the new governor's behest recently said total spending on the games could top 3 trillion yen when transportation, security and other costs are included.

Koike portrayed 3 trillion yen as a hard ceiling. "We should do all the things that ordinary businesses would do" to keep costs down, she said, adding that "I want to make sure that we will never fall into ballpark cost estimates again." 

The cost issue figured prominently in this summer's gubernatorial race. Since taking office, Koike has launched a review of plans for the games, as she has for a relocation of Tokyo's famed Tsukiji fish market.

The International Olympic Committee and the metropolitan government are hashing out practical matters, Koike said. 

"By the end of this month, we will have whittled down the choices to just one," the governor said. "Unless we work out the final details by then, we will run out of time."

Financial hub

The governor cited "regaining the status of an Asian financial hub" as priority of her growth strategy for Tokyo. Noting that finance now accounts for just 5% of Japan's gross domestic product, compared with more than 10% of the U.K.'s, she argued that the sector "still has room to grow" here.

Barriers to entry by foreign financial institutions must be addressed to raise Tokyo's profile as an international financial hub, so regulations, industry practices and the tax system need to be reviewed, Koike said.

Koike is expected to reduce business-related taxes, including the local corporate enterprise tax. Noting U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's call for a big corporate tax cut, she said that "the idea of Tokyo doing nothing scares me."

Koike will have two expert panels discuss promoting the growth of the financial sector. The first, which will work to identify barriers to entry, is expected to include representatives of the Japanese Bankers Association, the Japan Securities Dealers Association and foreign financial institutions.

The other panel will look into ways of encouraging more foreign financial institutions to set up shop in Tokyo, listing issues that can be addressed as early as next fiscal year. Representatives from the Financial Services Agency and the Development Bank of Japan will have seats at the table.

(Nikkei)

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