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Cleaning Up the Olympics

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.

Admittedly, I am coming to the task late in the day, and some of the plans for the Games – such as the layout of event spaces around the city – have already been set into motion by my predecessors.