National

Confusion reigns over who will foot bill for delayed Tokyo Olympics

KYODO

Confusion emerged Tuesday over who will shoulder the additional costs for the postponed Tokyo Olympics after the International Olympic Committee said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe committed Japan to cover the amount while the top government spokesman denied any agreement.

In a question-and-answer post on its website Monday, the IOC said Abe has “agreed that Japan will continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs.”

“For the IOC, it is already clear that this amounts to several hundred millions of dollars of additional costs,” it states.

The postponement is projected to add approximately ¥300 billion ($2.7 billion) to the games’ price tag.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday disputed the IOC’s statement, saying Abe has not agreed that Japan will foot any additional costs.

“There is no such agreement,” he told reporters during his daily briefing.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike also commented: “We are looking into how the Japanese government, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and organizers will handle the added cost.”

The host city contract was signed by the IOC, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Japanese Olympic Committee following Tokyo’s selection on Sept. 7, 2013.

Abe announced March 24 that the Tokyo Games would be postponed due to the global interruptions and health concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Olympics will be held from July 23 to Aug. 8 next year, with the Paralympic Games following between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5.

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said it will work to ensure that tickets bought for the Olympics and Paralympics remain valid for the rescheduled games next year, and that ticket holders who are unable to attend in 2021 will be reimbursed.

In reference to a possible further postponement beyond 2021, the IOC said, “Our Japanese partners and the prime minister made it very clear that Japan could not manage a postponement beyond next summer.”

The postponement is a “mammoth undertaking” for the organizers and the country, including securing the Olympic Village and sports venues, and involves all partners, sponsors and regional and local organizers, the IOC said.

“Postponement will involve restrictions and compromises on the part of everyone involved. There is no blueprint for postponement, but the IOC is very confident that all the complex parts will come together and give us a marvelous games.”

The IOC also revealed that around 57 percent of the qualification places have been secured and that a Qualification Task Force has amended the qualification process, allowing for an extension of the qualification period deadline and sports entries deadline.

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