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Delayed Tokyo Olympic Games to Cost Japanese Organizers Nearly $3 Billion

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until 2021 is set to cost its Japanese organizers an additional $2.8 billion, according to new figures released Friday by the games’ organizing committee and the island nation’s government.

The majority of the costs, some $1.1 billion, will be covered by the Tokyo metropolitan government, and the games’ organizing committee is expected to cover nearly $1 billion. The remaining costs, estimated to be about $700 million, will be picked up by the Japanese government.

Organizers explained in their latest release that the costs incurred by both the government of Japan and the Tokyo metropolitan government will largely be a result of COVID-19-prevention measures. 

The release further states that the Japanese government will be responsible for covering the costs for the tournament’s “inspection system for athletes,” since the administrative body will “serve as the central function for infectious disease control at the games as well as supporting the border control measures.”

Although games had already received more than $3 billion in private, domestic sponsorship prior to the pandemic, Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, indicated during a Friday conference that the board would be seeking new partnerships to cover the rising expenses.

He further noted that he did not anticipate receiving the $650 million sum that International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach had promised earlier this year in a bid to help cover postponement costs.

“There was an expectation that maybe this was for Tokyo,” Muto said. "But Tokyo’s costs are Tokyo’s costs.”

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike later stated that the group’s “biggest challenge is the additional costs,” but that they also needed to “gain the understanding and sympathy of the people of Tokyo and the people of Japan.”

A Kyodo News poll released earlier this year revealed that only 23.9% of surveyed residents were in favor of holding the Olympic Games in July 2021, with 33.7% of respondents agreeing that the games should be completely canceled amid the pandemic.

The nationwide survey found that an overwhelming majority of the respondents believed it was best for the games to either be postponed a second time or canceled altogether, as it seemed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could not be contained. 

The 2020 Olympics were the first to be postponed in modern times; however, the games were canceled three times in the past on account of World War I and World War II. Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020, previously stated in April that the games would be “scrapped” if the pandemic didn’t subside by the summer of 2021.

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