Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has vowed to "start considering venues" after she visited the controversial Naganuma rowing course in Tome, which could replace the facility put forward by organisers of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games amid fears of a ballooning budget.
Koike travelled to the course, located 400 kilometres away from the Japanese capital in the Miyagi Prefecture, today as the ongoing saga of where rowing and canoe sprint events will be held at Tokyo 2020 continues.
Both sports were originally due to be staged at the Sea Forest Waterway but abandoning those plans was among changes recommended in a report commissioned by Koike last month.
"Based on this visit, I will start considering venues," Koike told The Japan Times.
It was claimed that the budget could spiral to ¥3 trillion (£22 billion/$30 billion/€26 billion), four times its initial value, unless drastic alterations, such as moving venues, are made.
The news has sparked widespread concern within the sports movement, particularly on the grounds that it will harm the athlete experience and affect a venue which has already been approved by both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and world governing bodies.
The respective federations of rowing and canoeing, the sports most affected by the proposed alterations, have already voiced their considerable concerns at holding events in Naganuma.
The International Rowing Federation (FISA) claim there is limited flat space for vital elements such as boat storage, spectator stands, parking lots and broadcast compounds.
An "under-developed power supply and telecommunications infrastructure" is another issue they have raised, along with a "lack of accommodation facilities for spectators and support staff".
Transportation infrastructure is highlighted as another problem due to the 85 kilometres distance between the proposed satellite Athletes' Village and the venue.
In a statement, Tokyo 2020 backed up FISA's worries, insisting they "do not want to cause any athletes competitive disadvantage because of the distance of the Naganuma site from Tokyo".
FISA insist the Sea Forest course remains their preferred choice as it is the "only venue in Japan which can meet the requirements for an Olympic Games regatta".
Tokyo 2020 has warned that Naganuma could even cost more than Sea Forest, which would risk increasing expenditure rather than reducing it, which was the main aim of the Metropolitan Government Task Force report.
The Japanese Canoe Federation offered another option – the Toda Rowing Course in neighbouring Saitama Prefecture, which played host to the sports at Tokyo 1964 – but this was quickly dismissed by the International Canoe Federation (ICF) yesterday.
ICF secretary general Simon Toulson told insidethegames it would be a "really a difficult venue for rowing and canoeing to use for the Games properly".
The JCF appear keen on a move to the Toda facility, while the Metropolitan Government Task Force are seemingly in favour of the Naganuma venue.
The ICF, FISA and Tokyo 2020, however, are all unified in their belief that rowing and canoeing should be held at Sea Forest.
Despite the continued debate, Koike, elected as Governor in July, is likely to have the final say.
The Tokyo Governor is due to have talks regarding the issue with IOC President Thomas Bach here next week.