May 272015

TOKYO: An Olympic-sized spat over the centrepiece stadium for the 2020 Games has escalated in Japan after Tokyo’s governor urged premier Shinzo Abe to take his sports minister’s pronouncements with a pinch of salt.

The outburst is the latest episode in a long-running row over who should foot the bill for the Japanese capital’s controversial $1.4 billion showpiece venue, in which Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe has likened the central government to Japan’s wartime Imperial Army.

Masuzoe said “secret” agreements between his predecessor and Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura whereby the Tokyo government would pay for around a third of the cost would not wash with taxpayers. Organisers, however, said he had been fully informed.

“Whatever a former governor and the incumbent minister have done, it is akin to a secret promise,” Masuzoe told reporters on Tuesday, after it emerged this month that Shimomura had asked him to pay $470 million towards the new stadium. 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th,  2015.

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