Tokyo Olympics organizers to spend $900m on covid-19 measures


Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics will spend $900 million on measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 at next year’s tournament, they said on Tuesday, as they unveiled their latest budget.

The organisers repeated their projection that the total cost of the postponement, including the COVID-19 countermeasures, would come to about $2.8 million, bringing the entire cost of holding the Games to about $15.4 billion.

This is up from from the $12.6 billion predicated last year which means that the official cost of the tournament has increased by 22%.

“We want to build the best possible system by continuing to interact with the relevant organisations of doctors and nurses,” Tokyo Olympics chief executive Toshiro Muto told reporters.

“It’s still a big issue for us to secure as many medical staff as we hope for when faced with a situation where private medical institutions are struggling with management because of the coronavirus.”

The organisers took the unprecedented step of postponing the Olympics in March because of the pandemic and the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who has declared he will host the Olympics “at any cost,” is pressing ahead with the preparations.

The tournament is the legacy of the ex-premier Shinzo Abe who resigned in September. Under his watch, Japan secured the Olympics and invested billions of dollars in their organisation, having gathered more than $3bn in domestic sponsorship.

Even before the postponement, the Olympics had gone above the initial budget with almost $13 billion already spent, according to the organisers.

The COVID-19 countermeasures will include PCR testing infrastructure, setting up a clinic, as well as creating remote coverage set-ups and countermeasures at food and drink processing centres, the budget summary showed.

Some of the extra costs would be covered by additional sponsorship and insurance, organisers said this month. They would also tap a contingency fund detailed in last year’s budget to cover some costs.

The IOC’s finances are stressed. It generates 91% of its income from selling broadcast rights and sponsorships. The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has stalled its revenue flow, increasing the importance of staging the Olympics in Tokyo.

The Beijing Winter Olympics open six months after Tokyo closes, in February 2022.

The IOC is also under pressure to support national Olympic committees and international sports federations, many of which rely heavily on IOC contributions.

The Olympics are to open on July 23. The Paralympics follow on Aug. 24.