Cost of Tokyo Olympic delay put at about US$2 billion — report

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Cost of Tokyo Olympic delay put at about US$2 billion — report

Sunday, November 29, 2020

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TOKYO, Japan (AP) — The cost of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated to be just under US$2 billion, or about 200 billion yen.

Japan's Kyodo news agency and the Yomiuri newspaper both reported the figure on Sunday citing unnamed sources close to games organisers.

The reported cost of the delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic is in line with repeated estimates over the last several months. The organisers, the Tokyo metro government and the Japanese national government are expected to report next month how the costs will be shared.

The International Olympic Committee has said it would chip in about US$650 million to cover some of the costs of the delay, but has offered few public details.

Tokyo is becoming very expensive.

The official cost of putting on the Tokyo Olympics is US$12.6 billion. However, a government audit last year said it was probably twice that much. All but US$5.6 billion is public money.

Tokyo said the games would cost US$7.3 billion when it won the bid in 2013.

The US$2 billion only adds to the total. A University of Oxford study published early this year — calculated before the postponement — said Tokyo was the most expensive Summer Olympics on record and the meter is still running.

The IOC and organisers have been campaigning over the last several months to convince sponsors and a sceptical Japanese public that the Olympics can be held safely in the middle of a pandemic.

The Olympics are to open on July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on August 24. They involve 15,400 athletes and tens of thousands of officials, judges, staff, VIPs, sponsors as well as media and broadcasters.

IOC President Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo earlier this month, has said a vaccine and improved rapid testing would help pull off the Olympics. But he cautioned they are not “silver bullets”.

Athletes are expected to be closely monitored, held in quarantine-like conditions, discouraged from sightseeing and encouraged to leave as soon as they finish competing.

Some fans are expected at the events, but it is unclear if many fans from abroad will be allowed to attend.

Japan has controlled COVID-19 better than most countries, but has seen a spike over the last several weeks in Tokyo and elsewhere. Tokyo set a one-day record for new infections on Friday with 570. About 2,000 deaths in Japan have been attributed to COVID-19.

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