The cost to organise the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is likely to reach US$25 billion, Japanese Government’s Board of Audit has stated in a report.
The Tokyo Olympics Games Organising Committee, following the Board of Audit report, has resorted to drastic majors to cut down the costs.
The figure, which is almost four times the US$7.3 billion fee first declared in the country’s successful 2013 bid, comes in spite of claims from both local organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that spending was being cut.
According to the study, the major issue relates to debate over what falls under the banner of ‘Olympic spending’.
In December 2017, the number first rose from its initial projection to US$12 billion, before Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, stated that an extra US$7.2 billion would be required for a variety of additional developments, including readying facilities for use during the Paralympics, as well as promoting tourism.
This will not be the first occasion when the organisational cost for an Olympics Games will overshoot the budgetary provisions. During the past four editions, 2004 Athens Olympics had registered over 400% difference as the Organising Committee ended up spending $ 16 billion against the budgetary allocation of $3 billion. The 2004 Beijing Games have been the costliest Olympics ever – a total of $44.5 billion were spent against the initial budged of $20 billion.
In the latest 178-page research study, Japan’s Board of Audit has revealed that the costs have risen by US$19.1 billion with the government proving to have overspent by US$6 billion in December 2017, taking the figures to the current number of US$25 billion – equivalent of 2.81 trillion yen.
The IOC and the Japanese organisation committee, which is led by former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, disagree with the meaning of ‘Olympic spending’. They believe that external schemes such as tourism and volunteer-training should not count as costs directly related to the Games, arguing that those are “regular administrative costs”.
In a statement given by organisers to the Associated Press, it was suggested that expenditures caused by“inbound tourism, road constructions, subsidy for creating a hydrogen society, and even improving accuracy of weather forecasts with better satellites” should not be classed as Olympic costs.
However, the Audit report has included the heads as such, and further criticised the organising committee for not deeming costs incurred through doping facilities or security services as worthy of inclusion in the budget.
It is expected that close to 80% of the US$25 billion mooted costs will be paid through taxpayers’ money.
The news comes despite the IOC promoting a need for economic prudence from its hosts as the organisation looks to ensure that its events remain sustainable in the long-term amid fears that recent failed legacies and enormous debts have warned potential host cities off bidding.