2021 Tokyo Olympics to Gulp $15.9bn

December 22, 2020
2021 Tokyo Olympics

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Tokyo Olympics, which was initially scheduled to hold this year but was postponed to 2021 because of coronavirus, will cost at least 1.64 trillion yen ($15.9 billion).

The amount was unveiled at a final budget conference on Tuesday, with the organisers saying that the amount was increased due to the pandemic induced measures.

The extra costs, up 294 billion yen ($2.8 billion) from figures released a year ago, come as officials work to build enthusiasm as some participants are already losing interest because of COVID-19.

According to reports, a poll last week showed that majority of Japanese oppose holding the Tokyo Games next year, favouring a further delay or outright cancellation of the massive event, and the latest budget could make the Tokyo Games the most expensive Summer Olympics in history.

Organisers, who have ruled out another delay and insist the games can be held next year, defended the increased costs.

Speaking on this, the Chief Executive Officer of Tokyo 2020, Mr Toshiro Muto, stated that, “Whether you see this budget as expensive or not depends on how you look at it.

“You can look at it from a cost perspective or an investment perspective. If you look at it purely in terms of cost, it doesn’t make sense. But if you look at it as a positive investment, I think there are areas where it can be identified as such.”

Organisers have tried to scale back elements of the games in a bid to save money, putting in place measures like scrapping athlete welcome ceremonies among others.

But these savings — along with an expected 76 billion yen ($735 million) in extra revenue from sponsors and insurance payments — have been outweighed by extra costs.

It was noted that these came from rebooking venues and transport to retaining the huge organising committee staff.

Organisers increased the service budget of the games to 731 billion yen ($7.1 billion), with extra money allotted for the opening and closing ceremonies, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has agreed to cover the costs of moving the marathon and race-walking to northern Sapporo to beat Tokyo’s summer heat.

A 96 billion yen ($929 million) budget will cover virus countermeasures, including the creation of an infection control centre in the Olympic Village — part of a blueprint announced earlier this month along with plans to regularly test athletes and ban cheering in venues.

The Tokyo Games could become the most expensive Summer Olympics ever after the 2012 London Games, which is the most costly to date, with a $14.96 billion price tag, the most expensive of the games was $21.89 billion, which was spent on the Sochi Winter Games in 2014.

Speaking further, Mr Muto said, “We are trying to hold a global event during a pandemic, and if we are able to do that, it would mean that we can co-exist with COVID-19.

“We would be able to provide a model for living with the virus, and I think in that sense this event can be a meaningful one.”

Tokyo’s governor, Ms Yuriko Koike told AFP last week she can see no circumstances under which the games will be cancelled, despite rising infections in Japan.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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