Japan’s central government has already spent ¥172.5 billion on 2020 Games

JIJI, Staff Report

The central government said Tuesday that it spent ¥172.5 billion on projects directly related to preparing and running the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics over the five years to March this year.

The announcement is expected to further fuel concerns about games-related costs, as the new figure exceeds the ¥150 billion amount that the central government has promised to shoulder.

The government examined its 2020 Games-related spending after the Board of Audit of Japan released estimates early this month that central government spending has already topped ¥800 billion.

In light of that estimate, the board asked the government’s Headquarters for the Promotion of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to closely examine the relevance of state-financed projects to the games.

In response, the government grouped the projects into three categories: those closely related to the preparations and operations of the games, those whose direct contributions to the games are hard to assess in value and those with relatively low relevance.

The first category with high relevance has 53 projects worth ¥172.5 billion in total, including the one to build the new National Stadium, the main venue of the games.

A total of 208 projects worth ¥546.1 billion, including those to build roads and replace electric poles with underground cables, are in the second group whose direct contributions are hard to assess.

Twenty-nine projects worth ¥82.6 billion are considered to have relatively low relevance. Among them is the one to improve the accuracy of weather information.

In December last year, the Tokyo Games organizing committee said the total cost of the games would reach ¥1.35 trillion.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the organizing committee have agreed to spend ¥600 billion each while the central government will chip in ¥150 billion.

At a news conference after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Yoshitaka Sakurada, minister for the Tokyo Games, said the government will disclose the amount of its game-related spending as well as the budget from now on.

The government “will strive to provide a detailed explanation in order to obtain the public’s understanding,” Sakurada said.