- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

TOKYO (AP) - The International Olympic Committee expects Japan to lead the way against doping when Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympics.

IOC vice president John Coates said Wednesday that Japan had “one of the finest records” in the world when it comes to the fight against doping.

“You’ve got legislation with the parliament to further strengthen your anti-doping regime so I don’t think you need to hold any fears about the anti-doping environment that the organizing committee, Japan sports and the government will provide,” Coates said on the final day of a three-day evaluation of Tokyo’s preparations.

Coates said Japanese organizers have fulfilled their obligations to provide anti-doping at the highest level with an accredited laboratory.

“We can’t be relaxed but you’ve certainly laid the groundwork for many, many years for an anti-doping system for the Tokyo Games that will be of the highest integrity,” said Coates, who chairs the 2020 coordination commission.

Coates‘ comments come after the IOC ruled last week that all Russians must compete under the Olympic flag as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” at the upcoming Pyeongchang Games following accusations of a state-sponsored doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Despite the ban, Russian officials still expect more than 200 of their athletes to compete in South Korea.

Coates also spoke about the need for Tokyo organizers to cut costs for the games.

The IOC is seeking to make the games more affordable as part of President Thomas Bach’s “Agenda 2020” reforms. In a bid to cut costs, Tokyo organizers have moved several events to existing facilities in neighboring prefectures.

Coates said the final budget for Tokyo - which is projected at $12 billion - can be sliced by another $1 billion, a reduction that was relayed to the organizing committee during the previous project review in October.

A second version of the budget is set to be released later this month.

“There’s something like 900 major contracts involved in delivering the games,” Coates said. “So there is a lot of procurement that is taking place and we have to make sure that procurement is at competitive prices.”

Approximately 2 1/2 years away from Tokyo’s second Olympics, Coates said he is pleased with the progress organizers have made with the building of venues despite some initial delays on the new national stadium.

“It’s not an area that I have any concern,” Coates said. “You are making all your deadlines in construction and I see no reason why in a country as sophisticated that won’t continue to be the case.”


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