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Tokyo Olympics costs rise to US$15.4 billion

Tokyo Olympics costs rise to US$15.4 billion
December 23, 2020

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics will spend US$900 million on measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, taking the total cost of the rescheduled 2020 Games to US$15.4 billion.

Revealing its latest budget in an online news conference yesterday, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (TOCOG), in conjunction with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Government of Japan, advised that the official cost of the postponed Tokyo Olympics has increased by 22%.

While Tokyo 2020’s ‘version five’ budget includes reduced expenses arising from simplification measures that are being introduced amid COVID-19, it adds the Organising Committee’s contingency fund of US$300 million and the additional costs due to COVID-19 of US$2.5 billion, including $600 million of additional Paralympic Games costs.

The budget foresees revenues increasing by US$700 million, which will help cover the additional expenditures arising from the postponement. A further US$100 million in additional expenditures will be met by the TMG if they cannot be covered by Tokyo 2020.

The TOCOG budget also includes US$1.2 billion of temporary and overlay facility expenditures, an increase of US$300 million on the version budget; operational expenditures of US$1.6 billion, an increase of US$400 million; and general affairs and communication expenditures of US$800 million, an increase of US$200 million.

Commenting on the budget, Toshiro Muto, Chief Executive of the Organising Committee, advised “the Tokyo Olympics are operating in a very tough environment”, suggesting that the Games should be looked at as an investment rather than a cost.

The Nikkei newspaper reported last week, citing unnamed sources “familiar with the matter,” that 15 top-tier domestic sponsors will add an estimated US$150 million to their contributions. It said Japan Airlines, ANA airline, and the Tobu Skytower were considering contributions.

Nikkei is also a Tokyo Olympic sponsor along with Japan‘s other leading newspapers Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Asahi.

Tokyo said the Olympics would cost about US$7.5 billion when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the games in 2013. However, audits by the Japanese Government show the costs are higher than officially stated and are at least US$24 billion.

A University of Oxford study this year said Tokyo is the most expensive summer Olympics on record.

Franz Waldenberger, Director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo, wrote in a recent paper examining Olympic costs, in which he advised “the IOC and TOCOG want the public budget to appear as small as possible not only to guard against public criticism, but also to not discourage future candidate cities.”

The Olympics are to open on 23rd July 2020 with the Paralympics opening on 24th August.

Images: The Japan National Stadium will be the centrepiece of next year's Olympics (top) and the Tokyo Aquatic Centre (below). Credit: IOC.

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