Delayed Tokyo Olympics to cost additional $1.9bn

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Photo taken in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan. 9, 2020, shows the furniture going to be used in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)

The coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics could cost US$1.9 billion more than its original budget of US$13 billion, a 15 percent increase, a report said yesterday.

The Olympics organizers will formally decide the increased budget for the Games as early as mid-December after communicating with the Japanese government and the host city Tokyo, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported, citing unnamed Olympic sources.

The 2020 Games were pushed back a year as COVID-19 spread around the globe, and are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021. But the delay has thrown up a plethora of new costs, from rebooking venues and transport to retaining the huge organizing committee staff.

With many countries experiencing second or even third waves of infection, there have been doubts about whether the event can be staged, but organizers and Olympic officials insist it can be done safely.

The extra 200 billion yen (US$1.9 billion) on the pre-coronavirus estimate of 1.35 trillion yen comes despite organizers last month slashing US$280 million by cutting everything from staffing to pyrotechnics, but the new figure does not include costs of the coronavirus-related measures.

Officials expect the virus-linked measures will be paid by the Japanese government, the report said.

Plans for a lower-key, lower-cost Olympics were unveiled in September, with fewer free tickets, athlete welcome ceremonies scrapped and savings on mascots and meals.

The report comes after a senior official on Friday said Tokyo Olympics test events will resume in March.

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