Tokyo 2020 postponement comes at a (price)



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Japan Tokyo Olympics cost explosion Image: paralympic.org

Organizers of 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games spelt out on December 4th the full extent of the cost of postponing the sporting showpieces as it was being worked out who would account for an extra JPY294bn (£2.1bn/€2.3bn/$2.8bn) required to stage the events next year. A huge price being paid as the Tokyo Olympics had to be postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak which has almost blown the world to smithereens.

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) attended a three-party meeting on December 4th with representatives of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Government of Japan, at which the allocation of the additional costs of the Games incurred by their postponement due to COVID-19 was agreed.

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is the organization responsible for overseeing the planning and development of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Games were officially postponed on March 24th this year as the global pandemic took hold, with the Olympics now set to take place from July 23rd to August 8th, followed by the Paralympics from August 24th to September 5th next year.

Organizers are tearing their hair out as regards the vast complexities of reorganizing the events, and the huge costs involved in doing so. In October, Tokyo 2020 announced that it expects to make savings of JPY30bn for the rescheduled events, as a result of a range of cost-cutting measures.

However, in the meeting held on December 4th, the scale of the challenge came to the fore with the additional cost of postponing the Games by a year estimated at JPY198bn, with additional COVID-19 countermeasures coming in at JPY96bn.

The additional Games costs of JPY198bn will be split three ways, with Tokyo 2020 picking up JPY103bn, the TMG JPY80bn and the Japanese Government will pick up a tab of JPY15bn. Tokyo 2020 will not be obligated to contribute to COVID-19 countermeasures, with these costs being split between the TMG (JPY40bn) and the Japanese Government (JPY56bn).

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) established the 2020 Olympic Games Preparation Council, chaired by the Governor of Tokyo, on September 11th, 2013, in order to fully engage in efforts to host the Games.

Prior to the postponement, the Games were expected to cost around JPY1.35tn, split between Tokyo 2020 (JPY603bn), TMG (JPY597bn) and the Central Government (JPY150bn). Media reports stated that the additional operating costs of JPY198bn are expected to include expenses related to securing Games venues, equipment rental, storage fees, and labor.

The JPY96bn for virus countermeasures will be expended on healthcare infrastructure, including a testing system, and procuring equipment for infection control. Tokyo 2020 will reportedly contribute to its share of the additional costs through securing further contributions from sponsors and gathering insurance claims.

A statement sent out by Tokyo 2020 read, “We will continue to work closely with the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan and all other related organizations to prepare for a safe and secure Games while aiming at all possible optimization and streamlining measures to reduce cost.”

An interim summary of COVID-19 countermeasures to be taken during the Games was presented during a meeting held earlier on December 2nd, giving details of provisional plans for spectators, athletes, volunteers and Games staff.

Tokyo 2020 said a final decision on the maximum number of spectators to be allowed in venues will be made by next Spring. These figures will reflect the upper limit on spectators at Japanese events in force at the time and will take into account infection levels in Japan and overseas. They will also reflect the outcome of the pilots currently being conducted to determine the consequences of raising the upper limit of spectators.

With regard to spectators from overseas, Tokyo 2020 said it will discuss “appropriate infection countermeasures” considering the safety of both the spectators and of those in the local community.

It added, “Concrete measures will be decided by next Spring which will reflect domestic and global infection levels at the time, the situation regarding any restrictions in Japan on travel to and from overseas and what sporting events are being held by then.”

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