The opening ceremony for the Sea Forest Waterway to become the rowing and canoe venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a ceremonial regatta (Kazutaka Eguchi and Takahiro Kumakura)

Sea Forest Waterway, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, opened June 16 as the official rowing and canoe events venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, in a speech at the opening ceremony, expressed certainty that the Olympics would "thrill people around the world daily." She also said she hoped the new venue would be used for other events following the Games.

After the ceremony, alumni teams from Oxford University and Cambridge, renowned for their rowing prowess, held a regatta to celebrate the venue's completion.

At one point, Tokyo's plan was to build a new facility for the rowing and canoeing events, but after Koike took office on August 2016, she changed her position on the issue several times.

To cut costs, a research team appointed by Koike proposed to change the venue to the Miyagi Naganuma Boat Race Course in Miyagi Prefecture. Koike stressed the move was part of a “Reconstruction Olympics” to support areas hit hard by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and visited the location in person.

After speaking with the International Olympic Committee and the central government, Koike decided instead to construct a new venue due to the costs of staging the events at the Miyagi facility and its distance from Tokyo.

Some residents in the disaster-hit areas expressed frustration with Koike's backpedaling on the issue.

The governor finally settled on an island in Tokyo Bay made from recycled garbage. Koto and Ota wards are in a dispute over who oversees it since the facility lies between them.

The metropolitan government said it completed the work for less than a 2014 estimate of about 49 billion yen ($451 million) by taking steps that included making part of facility for temporary use only. The final venue cost about 31 billion yen.

Metropolitan government officials said after the Games, 30 competitions will be held at the site annually and about 350,000 visitors are expected. Despite this, the venue is likely to have a yearly deficit of about 160 million yen.

Five new Olympic facilities, including the Sea Forest Waterway, are expected to lose money after the Games. Ariake Arena, which adopted a “concession method,” selling operational rights to private companies, is an exception.

The operators of the facilities that face financial trouble are mulling introducing naming rights and pursuing advertisements from corporations to increase their revenue.

(This article was written by Shiro Yamaguchi and Hiroko Saito.)