June 25, 2015

TOKYO (AP) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed veteran lawmaker Toshiaki Endo on Thursday as minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Endo met with Abe on Thursday and will be formally appointed to the Cabinet post in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace.

The Japanese parliament enacted a bill last month to create the ministerial post. The Olympics minister will coordinate work among related government agencies ahead of the games.

''I will do my best to ensure the security and management of the facilities,'' said Endo, a lawmaker of 22 years who has long worked on sports policies.

''Above all, people in the country will not be happy unless (Japan) wins a lot of medals,'' the House of Representatives member said.

Special legislation was required to increase the number of Cabinet ministers to 19 from 18 until the end of fiscal 2020.

The 65-year-old Endo, a former senior vice education minister, will occupy the coordinating role that has so far been performed by Hakubun Shimomura, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology.

Endo's role will take in areas from counterterrorism to transportation development and the competitiveness of Japan's athletes.

One of his first tasks will be financing the construction of a new National Stadium that will be the centerpiece of the games.

The Tokyo municipal government has been bickering with the central government over how costs of the stadium will be shared.

Japan's sports ministry and The Japan Sports Council, which are in charge of the project, had estimated the cost of the stadium would be about $1.3 billion but the project is now estimated to cost $2 billion.

You May Like