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Postponed Olympics to cost extra $2.4 billion

Tokyo---The coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics will cost at least an extra $2.4 billion, organizers said Friday, with the unprecedented postponement and a raft of pandemic health measures ballooning an already outsized budget.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori (left) and CEO Toshiro Muto meet with the media after an opening plenary session of the three-party meeting on Tokyo 2020 Games additional costs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Tokyo. AFP
Tokyo 2020 said an additional $1.5 billion would be needed for operational costs related to the delay, with another $900 million in spending on coronavirus countermeasures for the Games next year.

The dollar figure is calculated at an exchange rate of 107 yen, and is closer to $2.56 billion when calculated at today's rate.

The costs could rise further, with Tokyo 2020 saying it will release an additional $250 million in "contingency" funds to help cover the expenses.

The extra costs come as organizers and Olympic officials work to build enthusiasm and momentum for the first Games postponed in peacetime, insisting that the massive international event can go ahead next year even if the pandemic is not under control.

But more spending could further harden public opinion in Japan, where polls earlier this year showed a majority of people think the Games should be postponed again or cancelled together.

The additional costs will be split between the national government, the city of Tokyo and the organizers.

Meanwhile, about 18 percent of tickets sold in Japan for next year's coronavirus-postponed Olympics will be refunded, Tokyo 2020 organizers said Thursday, with over 3.6 million seats still reserved domestically for the Games.

A three-week refund window for domestic tickets closed November 30, and organizers said about 810,000 of the 4.45 million tickets sold in Japan would be refunded and resold at a later date. 

A refund application window for Paralympics tickets bought in Japan will run from December 1-21. People who purchased tickets elsewhere in the world have been told to seek refunds from local retailers.

Organizers this week laid out a raft of safety measures they said would make it possible to hold the Games, even if the pandemic has not been brought under control.

While International Olympic Committee boss Thomas Bach has said he is "very confident" spectators will be allowed at next year's event, he has also warned full stadiums may not be possible as the pandemic rages on.

A decision on the number of spectators allowed is not expected until next spring.

Organizers have promised more reimbursements if events are cancelled, or fewer seats are available because of coronavirus safety measures.

Topics: Olympics , Tokyo , COVID-19 , Thomas Bach , Yoshiro Mori , International Olympic Committee
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