Olympics Tokyo Final Costs
A person walks near the Tokyo 2020 logo in Haneda Airport on June 14, 2021. Photo: AP file
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Tokyo closes books on costly, pandemic-delayed Olympics

23 Comments
By STEPHEN WADE

The final price tag for last year's COVID-delayed Tokyo Olympics was put at $13 billion (1.4 trillion yen), the organizing committee said Tuesday in its final act before it is dissolved at the end of the month.

The cost was twice what was forecast in 2013 when Tokyo was awarded the Games. However, the final price tag presented by organizers is lower than the $15.4 billion they predicted when the Olympics ended just under 11 months ago.

"We made an estimate, and the estimate has gone down lower than we expected," Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said, speaking through an interpreter at a news conference. "As a total amount, whether this is huge or not - when it comes to that kind of talk it is not easy to evaluate."

Accurately tracking Olympic costs - who pays, who benefits, and what are and are not Games' expenses - is an ever-moving maze. The one-year delay added to the difficulty, as did recent fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen.

When the Olympics opened on July 23, 2021, $1 bought 110 yen. On Monday, $1 bought 135 yen, the dollar's highest level against the yen in about 25 years. Organizers chose to use a rate of $1 to 109.89 yen to figure the dollar price, which organizers said was the average exchange rate for 2021.

Victor Matheson, a sports economist at the College of the Holy Cross who has written extensively on the Olympics, suggested by email to AP that most of "the expenses and revenues are in yen, so the exchange rate changing the dollar amounts doesn't affect how the event 'feels' to the organizers."

Matheson and fellow American Robert Baade researched Olympic costs and benefits in a study called "Going for Gold: The Economics of the Olympics." They wrote that "the overwhelming conclusion is that in most cases the Olympics are a money-losing proposition for host cities; they result in positive net benefits only under very specific and unusual circumstances."

Muto said there were savings because of the absence of fans, which cut down on security costs and venue maintenance costs. He talked vaguely about "squeezing" costs and "simplifying" operations to reach the reductions.

However, organizers lost at least $800 million in income from ticket sales because fans were banned due to COVID. Muto called "baseless" reports before and after the postponement that costs might hit $25 billion.

There is one undeniable fact: Japanese government entities, primarily the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, covered about 55% of the total expenses. This amounted to about $7.1 billion in Japanese taxpayer money.

The privately funded organizing committee budget covered about $5.9 billion. The International Olympic Committee contributed $1.3 billion to this budget, with the largest contribution of $3.4 billion coming from local sponsors. Organizers also listed $500 million in income from an unspecified "insurance payout."

University of Oxford study in 2020 said Tokyo was the most expensive Olympics on record.

In the several years prior to the Olympics, government audits found official costs might have been much more than stated.

It's impossible to assess the long-term impact of the Tokyo Olympics, particularly in a sprawling city like the Japanese capital where change is constant. The pandemic erased any short-term tourism bounce. Local sponsors, who paid $3.4 billion to be linked to the Olympics, didn't seem very happy according to local reports.

Dentsu Inc., the giant Japanese advertising and public relations company, may have benefited. It directed marketing for Tokyo 2020, received commissions for lining up sponsors, and has been linked to an IOC vote-buying scandal that was tied to Tokyo getting the Games.

The scandal forced the resignation of Tsunekazu Takeda in 2019, an IOC member who also headed the Japanese Olympic Committee. He denied any wrongdoing.

The Games were hit with other scandals, including the resignation of Yoshiro Mori, the president of the organizing committee who made sexist remarks about women. The former Japanese prime minister stepped down five months before the Games opened.

"I was baffled, surprised - it was so unexpected," Muto said when asked about Mori's departure. "I really had a tough time dealing with the situation."

Tokyo had billed itself as a "safe pair of hands" in its bid in 2013 to get the Games.

Tokyo will also be remembered as the first Games that were postponed for a year, and then held mostly without fans in a so-called bubble.

The most important legacy is surely the $1.4 billion National Stadium designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Though it's a new venue, it blends seamlessly into its central location.

"The goal should be that the costs of hosting are matched by benefits that are shared in a way to include ordinary citizens who fund the event through their tax dollars," Matheson and Baade wrote. "In the current arrangement, it is often far easier for the athletes to achieve gold than it is for the hosts."

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23 Comments
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 $13 billion (1.4 trillion yen), the organizing committee said Tuesday in its final act before it is dissolved at the end of the month.However, the final price tag presented by organizers is lower than the $15.4 billion 

Lower? It's still two digit billion, from 15.4 billion to 13 billion.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

"As a total amount, whether this is huge or not - when it comes to that kind of talk it is not easy to evaluate."

Muto: "Huge" is such a nebulous concept. It depends on your perspective. From us who are drawing a salary from the public it is not huge. But from the public barely getting by who are paying for the pandemic games...

Great that the CEO of the committee's conclusion for which he gets paid a big salary is "it is not easy to evaluate".

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Basically the Olympics lost all credibility when Japan was forced to hold them during the pandemic.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Dentsu Inc., the giant Japanese advertising and public relations company, may have benefited. It directed marketing for Tokyo 2020, received commissions for lining up sponsors, and has been linked to an IOC vote-buying scandal that was tied to Tokyo getting the Games.

The true gold medalists of the Pandemic Games who should be the feature of any Olympic documentary.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Books closed all paperwork to be burnt. Next the winter version.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Everyone ever associated with this disaster, including the “O-Mo-Te-Na-Shi” girl should be publicly shamed for their roles in this multi-billion dollar freak show. I think the Scarlet letter “Y” is in order for the yen this will cost

Dentsu solidified its reputation as the Darth Vader of Japanese Corporations, the government shows how feckless it is, the JOC.... words fail me.

So the legacy is a bundle of under-used buildings, the upkeep for which is several tens of millions of dollars per year and a bottocks-load of additional debt that we, the tax payer will pay for the foreseeable future.

Are you listening, Sapporo? Hosting is a loser’s bet unless the host is an authoritarian dictatorship that doesn’t care about cost and wants the prestige that the games give its exploitive regime. Don’t do it!

Saudi 2032, anyone?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Let's hope they learned a valuable lesson..... STOP wasting tax payers money on glamour projects.

But they haven't....

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Corruption, fraud, lies, deceit, deaths of workers and the eventual suicide of the JOC's chief accountant, that's the legacy of Tokyo 2022. The Olympics is a disgrace, rolling colonialism funded by NBC and the IOC. It should be broken up and held on a permanent site in Greece, or just abandoned forever. Preferably the latter.

obladi 07:21 am JST

Basically the Olympics lost all credibility when Japan was forced to hold them during the pandemic.

Not quite - the IOC offered the Japanese government a postponement to 2022 but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refused as his term was set to finish in autumn 2021, and he wanted to be leader when they were held. As it was he resigned in August 2020 citing "health reasons" and the hapless Suga inherited the horrorshow.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

And those books will be ripped up and shredded. Just like Nagano.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Basically the Olympics lost all credibility when Japan was forced to hold them during the pandemic.

And also when Bach did the forcing and the City of Tokyo "weaseled" to Bach. In the end, Back got his millions and Tokyo got screwed.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I wonder if they did some of the same cute accounting tricks the Atlanta Olympic Committee did when they said they broke even when they closed the books. The biggest one, discovered years later by reporters at teh AJC, was only counting the face value of the bonds issued for funding the games and not counting the 20 years worth of interest to be paid on them. This alone shaved doube digit millions from the total cost and made it looks like they cost less.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And also when Bach did the forcing and the City of Tokyo "weaseled" to Bach. In the end, Back got his millions and Tokyo got screwed.

For a bunch of Banzai rightwing conservatives, the LDP and its sockpuppets sure acted as submissive as a geisha in front of that scumBach.

And now we see they can't wait to get reamed again by hosting the games in Hokkaido.

sasuga nihon

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Wasteful and rotten to the core. The IOC, the Tokyo Organizing Committee, Dentsu, etc.

All of them and more. Not even a thank-you card for using my tax money.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Just to add to Alfie's comments, the Tokyo Olympics also took away construction workers and pushed up the cost of construction materials just as Tohoku was trying to rebuild after 3/11.

On a superficial level, the Olympics was spun as symbolizing Tohoku's recovery, but actually delayed it and made it more expensive.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The final price tag for last year's COVID-delayed Tokyo Olympics was put at $13 billion (1.4 trillion yen), the organizing committee said Tuesday in its final act before it is dissolved at the end of the month.

The cost was twice what was forecast in 2013 when Tokyo was awarded the Games. However, the final price tag presented by organizers is lower than the $15.4 billion they predicted when the Olympics ended just under 11 months ago.

This article could have been churned out by Kyodo, as it is repeating Kyodo's outdated figures like a mantra.

Sept 2021

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14438921

This suggests that the overall sum of money injected will top 3 trillion yen.

Still, some officials contend that figure is an underestimate.

July 2021

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210720/p2a/00m/0na/025000c

Furthermore, there are expenses that are not included in the official budget -- games-related expenses such as measures against heat and road maintenance. The Board of Audit of Japan had been pointing out even before the games' postponement that when factoring in such related expenses, the overall cost would top 3 trillion yen (about $27.4 billion). 

The Mainichi article is in-line with news in 2021 that we were inching towards...4 trillions due to postponement and additional COVID-measures.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

And we are forced to pay for this out of our tax payers money with the threat of being thrown in prison if we don’t. It is absolutely sickening.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Regardless of the cost I kind of miss the Olympic fever we all experienced this time last year. Being united in emotion is what the world and Japan especially needs now.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Oh, stop complaining, everybody!

Just look at how the Japanese economy is thriving now after the Games, just like the LDP and JOC told us it would...oh, wait a minute...

This has always been a heist.

There is one undeniable fact: Japanese government entities, primarily the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, covered about 55% of the total expenses

Let's try that again:

Japanese government entities confiscated about 55% of the total expenses from honest taxpayers, to throw away on this white elephant which 80% of Japanese taxpayers did not want.

And now the books are closed, so we will never be able to even check if these figures are even close to accurate. My grandchildren yet unborn will be paying for this theft.

The IOC is an organised crime syndicate.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Dentsu Inc., the giant Japanese advertising and public relations company, may have benefited. It directed marketing for Tokyo 2020, received commissions for lining up sponsors, and has been linked to an IOC vote-buying scandal that was tied to Tokyo getting the Games.

And here is the main reason why the games happened, even if by now the impression that they left in the world is mostly negative because of the bribes, sexism, postponement, cancellations, expenses, etc.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Here is a suggestion… how about abolishing the IOC permanently. It just unless and a waste.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japanese government entities confiscated about 55% of the total expenses from honest taxpayers, to throw away on this white elephant which 80% of Japanese taxpayers did not want.

but as usual no one will be bothered to get out and vote when the time comes in this socialist state

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Amen

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is no mention of an independent auditor in the article will take the figures the threw out there with a big back of salt.

Surprised, so many here believe the numbers despite the long history of book cooking, shredding and missing records,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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