Olympics Volleyball Venue Up In Air

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike announced after consulting with visiting members of the International Olympic Committee that the metropolitan government now planned to hold the rowing and canoe sprint events of the 2020 Olympics, as well as the swimming competition, at two new separate facilities to be built in Tokyo before the games.  

Photo: AP Photo / Shizuo Kambayashi
Cars drive past the site of the new national stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in Tokyo  Oct. 2. 

Koike therefore abandoned a previous plan to hold those events outside the city at existing venues. However, she postponed yet again a decision on where to hold the volleyball competition.

Koike wants more time to conduct a feasibility study for using Yokohama Arena, but the Japan Volleyball Association wants the local organizing committee to build a new arena on the Tokyo waterfront.

The city and the IOC have agreed to keep costs down, and a new arena would make that goal more difficult. Former Prime Minister Yoichi Mori, who is the ceremonial head of the organizaing committee, has expressed displeasure with the postponement. Several media are now reporting that the main reason for the wait is that the Japan Concert Promoters Association is trying to raise a certain amount of money to build the volleyball arena.

Takeo Nakanishi, the chairman of the association and the president of Disk Garage, one of Japan’s biggest concert promoters, told an interviewer on a TV show that his association is trying to raise 20 billion to 30 billion yen ($175 million to $260 million). The arena, which would seat up to 15,000 people and be built in the Ariake district of the waterfront, could be used for concerts after the Olympics.