THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
November 30, 2020 at 18:26 JST
About 100 billion yen ($962.5 million) will be needed for anti-virus measures at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next summer, fueling an expected showdown over who will cover the rising costs of the pandemic-delayed events, sources said.
Organizers also expect to add an extra budget of 200 billion yen to cover other items, such as labor costs and maintenance of venues, the sources said Nov. 29.
The sources said the 100-billion-yen anti-virus budget will pay for goods and equipment to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading.
The amount could increase or decrease depending on the pandemic situation, the development of vaccines and whether the number of spectators will be restricted at the Games.
With the extra costs caused by the postponement of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics now expected to reach about 300 billion yen, organizers plan to streamline some aspects of the sports extravaganza and obtain new sponsorships.
The central government and the Tokyo metropolitan government are expected to take up the slack, but how much each side will cover remains to be seen.
The coordination committee of the central government, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is expected to reach an outline of an agreement by the end of December.
The committee also said it will not make a decision on whether to restrict attendance at the venues until spring next year.
The central government has insisted that it should cover only the costs to build the new National Stadium and the Paralympic Games budget, arguing that “the host city of the Games is Tokyo.”
“The tug-of-war between the central government and the metropolitan government will intensify,” multiple sources said.
Officials of the central and metropolitan governments are considering placing some of the costs of the anti-COVID-19 measures in a non-Olympic budget, which would allow the money to be used for things not related to the Games, according to the sources.
The Tokyo metropolitan government’s savings have plummeted from 900 billion yen to 170 billion yen because of the pandemic.
The downhill trend will likely continue as the resurgence in infections in the capital will force the metropolitan government to provide businesses with additional relief money while tax revenues will likely diminish.
As of the end of 2019, the budget for the Games was 1.35 trillion yen. The organizers were expected to cover 603 billion yen of the total, while the metropolitan government would pick up 597 billion yen of the tab and the central government would pay 150 billion yen.
According to an agreement between the International Olympic Committee and the host city, if the organizers fall into the red, the Tokyo metropolitan government is expected to fill the gap. If that is difficult, then the central government will cover the loss.
Officials expect it will be difficult to make up for the additional expenses.
Organizers have already asked sponsors to make additional investments into the Tokyo Olympics by the end of the year. But they have not received a favorable response from these companies because of the pandemic.
Olympic organizers previously calculated that about 300 billion yen in additional expenses would be needed for things other than the COVID-19 measures, such as venue maintenance, compensation for the operators of various facilities for the postponement of the Games, and personnel expenses.
In September, the organizers and the IOC reached an agreement to partially offset the huge financial loss caused by the postponement by simplifying 52 items. They estimated savings of about 30 billion yen at the time.
But sources now say the organizers have negotiated with the venues over the compensation amount and will be able to save more than the initial estimate. The additional expenses for things other than the COVID-19 measures should be about 200 billion yen, sources said.
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