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Wednesday, February 3, 1999 Published at 11:34 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Nagano Olympics under suspicion

Suspicion of scandal falls on Nagano

A popular newspaper in Japan says more than $6m was spent entertaining Olympic officials during the bid to host the 1998 winter games in Nagano.

Japan's Mainichi newspaper says there is evidence that Nagano spent millions of yen to get the games, "despite bid committee members having ordered the official accounts to be burned".

Quoting from private notes, the paper says a third of the money was spent on first-class flights and hotel rooms for 180 people attending an International Olympic Committee assembly.

Mainichi says other costs included chartering a train for the IOC president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, on a visit to Japan.

Kazutami Yoshida, the head of Nagano's Winter Olympic bid committee, was quoted as saying that records should show nothing untoward in the bid he managed.

"I've got no idea where these memos came from. My memory of what went on eight years ago isn't too good, but I remember we spent 100 million yen on computer graphics videos and 300 million yen on public relations," Mr Yoshida was reported to have said.

In January, even as the bribes scandal surrounding the IOC began, the mayor of Nagano admitted that there may have been "excesses" in its application.

The scandal has so far led to the resignation or dismissal of nine IOC members for allegedly receiving inducements in return for votes in favour of awarding the 2002 games to Salt Lake City.

IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch has been called on to introduce radical reforms to the Olympic movement.

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