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Cleaning Up the Olympics

The Olympic Games too often bring waste and corruption to the city hosting them, because responsibility for preparation is dispersed between national and city governments, local commissions, and organizations like the International Olympic Committee. When everyone is “responsible” for everything, no one is responsible for anything.

TOKYO – The Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro have begun, and as much as I would like to sit back and watch every hour of them (I admit, I snuck a peek of the wondrous Kohei Uchimura competing for his gymnastics gold medal), I find myself engrossed in a different kind of spectatorship: I’m poring over spreadsheets, contracts, and organizational charts.

Now that I have been elected Governor of Tokyo, which will host the 2020 Games, I am quickly preparing myself and my team for the grueling tests of management that lie ahead of us.

In particular, we must become world-class cost-control accountants, so that the Games are a success not just for the athletes, but also for the citizens of Tokyo and all Japanese. We want to take pride in our Games, and we cannot do that if we hobble future generations with debt. The Tokyo they inhabit must not be dotted with white-elephant structures that served a single purpose in 2020, only to mar the skyline for years and decades after.

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