Japan to create sport agency for 2020 Olympics: Report

TOKYO - Japan is to create a sports agency to boost resources for top athletes as it targets 30 gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, reports and officials said Tuesday.

The agency will be overseen by a cabinet minister who will also be tasked with ensuring the smooth delivery of Tokyo 2020, the Yomiuri Shimbun and other media reported.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga hinted Monday at such a move, saying "it is necessary for us to integrate policies" around the Olympics and Paralympics that are currently under two different ministries.

The government is considering having education and sports minister Hakubun Shimomura also serve as the minister in charge of the Olympics, the Yomiuri and the Sankei newspapers said.

Japan has set a target of 30 gold medals at the 2020 Games, nearly double its haul of 16 when it last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964, an education ministry official told AFP.

At last year's London Games, Japan won seven golds, finishing 11th in the medals table.

"We have made a budget request for 1.5 billion yen (S$19 million) for next fiscal year for projects to train top athletes aged between 16 and 20," the official said.

Later Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold a cabinet meeting to discuss issues around the 2020 Games, his office has said.

The International Olympic Committee on Saturday chose the Japanese capital to host the 2020 summer Games over Istanbul and Madrid.