By Ju-min Park, Antoni Slodkowski
TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) – Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics will spend $ 900M on measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at next year’s Games, they said yesterday, as they unveiled their latest budget for the deferred tournament. Organizers reiterated their projection that the total cost of the deferral, including COVID-19 countermeasures, would amount to about $ 2.8B, bringing the total cost of holding the Games to approximately $ 15.4B. “We want to build the best possible system by continuing to interact with the relevant doctors and nurses organizations,” Tokyo Olympics chief executive Toshiro Muto told reporters.
“It’s still a big issue for us to get 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,” said Muto.
Organizers 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 it will host the Olympics “at any cost”, is moving ahead with preparations . The Games is the legacy of former premier Shinzo Abe who resigned in September. Under his watch, Japan secured the Olympics and invested billions of dollars in their organization, having collected more than $ 3B in domestic sponsorship. Even before the postponement, the Olympics had exceeded its initial budget with nearly $ 13B already spent, according to the organizers.
The COVID-19 countermeasures will include PCR testing infrastructure, establishment of a clinic, as well as the creation of antifreeze coverings and countermeasures at food and beverage processing centers, the budget summary showed. Some of the additional costs would be covered by additional sponsorship and insurance, organizers said this month. They would also tap a reserve detailed in last year’s budget to cover some costs.