Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori, left, is greeted by Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto prior to a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool via AP

Tokyo, IOC dismiss study showing Olympic costs rising


The CEO of the Tokyo Olympics and the IOC member in charge of Japan's games have dismissed a new study from the University of Oxford that finds Tokyo is the most expensive Summer Games since 1960.

Tokyo, postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, is only a small part of economist Bent Flyvbjerg's study which was published on Tuesday and titled, “Regression to the Tail: Why the Olympics Blow Up.”

The analysis in the journal “Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space” — the third in a series following editions 2012 and 2016 — looks at Olympic costs and finds they keep increasing despite claims by the International Olympic Committee that costs are being cut.

Cost overruns for the Olympics have averaged 170%, and Flyvbjerg says Tokyo is over 200%.

“Well, I am aware of the report in the media. But there was no official statement given to the Tokyo organizing committee," Tokyo CEO Toshiro Muto said on Tuesday in an online news conference. “So I am not in a position to make any comment on that. I am just simply confused.”

IOC Vice President John Coates, who oversees planning for Tokyo, also brushed aside the Oxford study.

“I’ve taken the view that I’ve got more productive things to do with my time than to analyze that report and respond to it,” Coates told the Australian Financial Review newspaper on Tuesday.

Flyvbjerg got a similar response from the IOC when the report came out unofficially a few days ago. The IOC criticized his work, questioned the numbers and methodology. In response, Flyvbjerg sent an open letter to IOC President Thomas Bach, offering detail.

Flyvbjerg said on Tuesday the IOC had not replied. On Monday, the IOC told the Associated Press it would have no further comment.

According to the Oxford numbers, Tokyo’s spending is at $15.84 billion, already surpassing the 2012 London Olympics, which were the most expensive Summer Games to date at $14.95 billion. Flyvbjerg says the meter is still running and expects several billion more to be added to the cost.

Tokyo organizers say officially they are spending $12.6 billion. However, a national auditor says the actual costs are twice that high, made up of some expenses that the Oxford study omits because they are not constant between different Olympics.

"The Olympics offer the highest level of risk a city can take on,” Flyvbjerg told the AP in an interview this month. “The trend cannot continue. No city will want to do this because it’s just too expensive, putting themselves into a debt that most cities cannot afford.”

Flyvbjerg says the basic problem is the IOC does not pay for most of the Olympics, or the cost overruns. He suggested the IOC should pay at least 10% or cost overruns, and probably much more.

In the open letter, Flyvbjerg also asked the IOC if it funded a recent study that found more positive results about holding the Olympics.

In his open letter, Flyvbjerg also says he enjoys the Olympics.

“We are great fans of the Games and hope the IOC will be able to again make them attractive to host cities, not least by helping to effectively drive down costs and cost overruns," he wrote. "This should have happened years ago, in our view, but better late than never.”

Oxford Study: [](Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)

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Tokyo, IOC dismiss study showing Olympic costs rising

Of course! It's not their money.

Trebles all round!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Don't like what you hear..dismiss it. That's a very adult reaction. Wonder how much the meeting to decide to dismiss it cost? They arnt going to be happy when they hear what people think but again they will dismiss such churlish behavior from underlings

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Muto...." I'm just simply confused".

Spoken like a true leader, inspiring confidence in his ability to be in charge of ... anything. The photo is telling.. 2 senile fossils who really should be enjoying their sunset days in an onsen somewhere, not leading the Olympic preparations.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Gold for the Japanese in the "ostrich event".

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Tokyo, IOC dismiss study showing Olympic costs rising

From the article its clear that they aren't actually disputing the substance of the study, they just don't want to talk about it because its embarrassing.

Which is their way of confirming that the study is accurate. Which might make for a better headline.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

In in a mere two or three years when reviewing bids for the 2030 winter Games, which Sapporo/Japan wants, and they talk about the BILLIONS of dollars over that Tokyo cost, even if not held, Mori will be dead but you'll have the new crop of the JOC saying, "It was entirely unpredictable and could not have been foretold that costs would be so high. There were no reports indicating -- wait... there were? -- well, that is the fault of the people in power at the time. WE, on the other hand, promise transparency, and the most compact and cost-effective Games ever put on! Now, excuse me, I have a number of construction company heads on the other line vying for contracts."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“Well, I am aware of the report in the media. But there was no official statement given to the Tokyo organizing committee,"

And therefore it simply does not exist! How can it if I close my eyes, plug my ears, and sing at top volume with my mouth LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!

“I’ve taken the view that I’ve got more productive things to do with my time than to analyze that report and respond to it,”

Like brown envelopes with your name on them; much more lucrative to "read" over what's in those. Or requests to be wined and dined at the cost of taxpayers in the target city.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Its really just posiible the Olympics next year will be forced to happen. A debacle waiting to happen but theres money to be made for some.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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