• Kyodo

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The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics cost at least ¥150 billion ($1.3 billion) less than expected as the Games were mostly held without spectators, helping to cut labor costs and other outlays, officials with knowledge of the matter said Friday.

Cost reductions stemming from the absence of spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic more than compensated for losses on ticket sales, estimated at around ¥90 trillion, meaning there is unlikely to be an additional burden placed on taxpayers.

The Olympics and Paralympics were held amid extraordinary restrictions last summer, and the total cost, split by the organizing committee as well as the central and the Tokyo metropolitan governments, could be lower than ¥1.5 trillion.

The organizers increased the total budget to ¥1.64 trillion in December 2020 from its earlier budget of ¥1.35 trillion due to the unprecedented one-year postponement of the Games due to the pandemic.

There had been wrangling over who will make up the losses resulting from virtually no revenue from ticket sales. In the event that the organizing committee fell into the red, the metropolitan government in principle was in charge of covering the deficit, with the central government moving in to help out if that was not enough.

The three organizers are aiming to strike a deal on how to split the total cost by the end of the year.

The 17-day Tokyo Olympics, the biggest sporting event held since the virus took hold early last year, involved about 11,000 athletes from over 200 countries and regions through Aug. 8.

Almost all the venues were spectatorless for the first time in Olympics history as Japan wrestled with COVID-19 infection numbers at their highest in many months with Tokyo under its fourth state of emergency.

Despite coming in under expectations, the cost of staging the Olympics and Paralympics was nevertheless sharply up from the figure of ¥734 billion first estimated by Japan when it made its bid in 2013 to host the Games.

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