Tokyo 2020 organizers said this week that the estimated cost of the next edition of the world’s biggest competitive sporting event has ballooned to ¥1.4 trillion ($17.1 billion). As staggering as that figure is on its own, it’s even more revealing when compared to the original Olympic bid cost estimate of ¥730 billion ($8.9 billion). (AP)
Rising construction costs are cited as one reason for the cost increase, although we’ve been reporting on the ever-evolving budget for some time. In 2015, for example, anti-terrorism measures incorporated into plans boosted the projected costs to around $15 billion. Both construction and operating costs of the aquatics, volleyball, and canoeing venues were scrutinized last year, leading to the 20,000-set aquatics center’s price tag to drop from ¥49.1 billion to ¥29.8 billion.
According to Shinichi Ueyama, a Japanese public policy expert who led a Tokyo government investigation into the Olympics’ cost, it is common practice that original Olympic bid figures exclude such costs as building design, transportation and security. Says Ueyama, “Those numbers in the bidding file are almost fiction.” (AP)
“Many advanced nations are now increasingly aware of the pattern and staying away from the Olympics,” said Ueyama. “If you take a survey in any democratic country, people would refuse to have their tax money spent on costly sports events.” Both Budapest, Hungary and Hamburg, Germany were originally in the running to host the 2024 Olympic Games, but dropped out of the race after public pressure from constituents concerning costs.
The Rio Olympics are estimated to have cost around $12 billion and the London Olympics four years earlier are estimated to have cost $14.6 billion. Under a new cost-allocation agreement announced this week, the city of Tokyo and the Tokyo 2020 organization committee will bear a cost of ¥600 billion ($5.4 billion) each, with the central government contributing ¥150 billion ($1.4 billion). The remaining costs’ handling are still to be determined.