Tokyo unveil revised budget for 2020 Games

Earlier proposal of two billion drew strong IOC criticism

15:02 December 21, 2016

Tokyo: Tokyo Olympic organisers unveiled a budget of 1.6 to 1.8 trillion yen (Dh55.10-Dh61.71 billion; $15-$16.8 billion) for the 2020 Summer Games on Wednesday, down from a last month’s proposal of as much as two trillion yen after they came under pressure to cut costs.

The figure is still more than double the original estimate made during the bidding process, although that had not included security and transportation costs.

A Tokyo city government panel had estimated in September that costs could balloon to as much 3 trillion yen. The IOC is worried such lofty figures could scare off future bidders and had called for a sharp reduction.

Earlier this month, IOC vice president John Coates termed the budget proposals ‘unacceptable’ and urged Japanese organisers to find ways to make the 2020 Olympics more affordable.

Coates had said the Games could be delivered for less and the current figure could scare off cities considering bids for future Olympics.

“The IOC is not in a position to accept a budget of $20 billion (Dh73.46 billion),” Coates said at a news conference. “The IOC just isn’t going to sign off on a budget which we think exceeds the costs that the games could be staged for. That would be giving the wrong impression and it would not help us in terms of other candidate cities.”

Construction costs have soared in part due to shortages in labour and materials as Japan continues to recover from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Japanese organisers have yet to compile a total cost estimate for the Games, though their first official budget is expected to be released by the end of the year.

A Tokyo government panel has accused local organisers of allowing big public works spending for the Olympics without a long-term vision for legacy use. The panel has said the cost of the Olympics could exceed $30 billion — four times the initial estimate — unless drastic cuts are made.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has spearheaded the cost-cutting effort, proposing a review of three costly new venues. Her efforts have led to some tense exchanges with Yoshiro Mori, president of the 2020 organising committee.

— Reuters