• Kyodo

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The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee has estimated the cost of COVID-19 countermeasures at around ¥100 billion ($960 million), in addition to ¥200 billion ($1.9 billion) additional costs estimated in relation to postponing the games, sources with knowledge of the matter have said.

The Tokyo Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the central government are to present an interim report on novel coronavirus countermeasures Wednesday, having held several meetings on the issue since September, the sources said.

Postponing the Olympics and Paralympics for one year will drive up the total price tag of the games by some ¥200 billion, according to the sources, and the three parties will determine how much of that additional burden each will shoulder.

The costs for COVID-19 countermeasures will include setting up health care infrastructure, including a testing system, and procuring equipment necessary to prevent infection.

Additional operating costs from the one-year postponement are expected to include expenses related to securing games venues, equipment rental and storage fees as well as labor costs.

The games were expected to cost around ¥1.35 trillion before they were postponed in March, just four months before the Olympic opening ceremony was slated to be held in the capital.

Of that sum, the organizing committee was planning to cover ¥603 billion, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government ¥597 billion and the central government the remaining ¥150 billion. The additional costs will be added on top of these figures, the sources said.

The organizing committee is hoping to raise funds through additional contributions from sponsors and from insurance damage claims.

Soon after the postponement was announced in March, some estimated the additional operating costs related to the postponement would be approximately ¥300 billion.

The organizing committee has since striven to simplify the games and cut spending wherever possible to make holding the Olympics and Paralympics in 2021 more palatable to the domestic public.

Last month, organizers announced their simplified plan would save an estimated ¥30 billion after agreeing with the International Olympic Committee on 52 areas that could be streamlined.

The sources said the cost of COVID-19 countermeasures would largely be shouldered by the national government as they plan for visits by athletes, stakeholders and spectators.

However, without thorough explanations on the use of public funds during a period of social and economic hardship amid the pandemic, organizers will risk drawing flak at a time when there are no guarantees the games will still take place, a source within the organizing committee said.

The Olympics are scheduled to be held between July 23 and Aug. 8 next year, followed by the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

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