TOKYO – The chief executive of the Tokyo Olympics promised “transparency” with the Japanese public on Thursday regarding the cost of postponing the games until next year.
Neither the Japanese organizers nor the International Olympic Committee has said what it will cost to delay the Tokyo Games for one year. Early estimates in Japan range between $2 billion and $6 billion.
“It’s highly likely that the expense will be higher than the originally planned budget,” CEO Toshiro Muto said, speaking through an interpreter at a weekly teleconference.
He said the exact amount was unclear, “but we will proceed with transparency and explain to the taxpayers about the costs.”
Although officials say the added costs are unknown, one thing is certain: Japanese taxpayers will pick up most of the bills.
The Tokyo city government, the local organizers and the Japanese Olympic Committee are obligated under the “Host City Contract” signed in 2013 to cover most of the costs.
The cost issue is sensitive in Japan, particularly for the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been a fervent backer of the Olympics.
Japan, like many countries, could be deep in a recession next year, brought on the by the coronavirus pandemic. Japan is officially spending $12.6 billion to organize the Olympics, but a government audit report last year said it was at least twice that much.