Rescheduling the Summer Olympics is no easy task, and will undoubtedly cost organizers a lot of money to do so.
While both Japanese organizers and the International Olympic Committee aren’t sure what it will cost in the end, the chief executive of the games promised “transparency” with the Japanese people about the financial side of the process on Thursday.
“It’s highly likely that the expense will be higher than the originally planned budget,” CEO Toshiro Muto said, via the Associated Press.
“But we will proceed with transparency and explain to the taxpayers about the costs.”
The 2020 games were originally scheduled to start in July in Tokyo, however organizers delayed the Olympics until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The estimated cost of delaying the games, according to the Associated Press, is between $2 billion and $6 billion.
Japan, per the report, is officially spending $12.6 billion to host the Olympics — the country’s first games since 1998 — though an audit last year revealed that figure was at least twice as much. All but $5.6 billion is public money. The IOC contributed just more than $1 billion.
Will the Summer Olympics be delayed even further?
There were more than 2.6 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide as of Thursday afternoon, according to The New York Times, 852,000 of which were in the United States. Japan has more than 12,600 confirmed cases.
Several officials have questioned whether the games will even be able to be held in 2021 at all. Muto even casted his own doubts earlier this month, though organizers said that there is no “Plan B” for the games should they need to be postponed a second time.
“I don’t think the Olympics is likely to be held next year,” Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease professor in Japan, said last week, via the Associated Press. “Holding the Olympics needs two conditions; one, controlling COVID-19 in Japan and controlling COVID-19 everywhere. … I am very pessimistic about holding the Olympic Games next summer unless you hold the Olympic Games in a totally different structure such as no audience, or a very limited participation.”
While Muto was asked about that possibility several times on Thursday, he declined to give much of an answer.
“How this coronavirus infection situation will develop and when this will end — nobody can answer this question for sure,” Muto said, via the Associated Press.
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