Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

A passerby wearing a protective face mask following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease walks past a screen displaying logos of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2020.

Issei Kato/Reuters

An open conflict broke out between Tokyo Olympic organizers and the IOC on Tuesday over who will pay for the unprecedented year-long postponement.

Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya said the organizing committee asked the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee to remove a comment from its website suggesting that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that Japan would shoulder most of the postponement costs.

Media reports in Japan estimate the year-long delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic will cost US$2-billion to US$6-billion. Neither side has given an official estimate, but Tokyo CEO Toshiro Muto has called the postponement costs “massive.”

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s not appropriate for the prime minister’s name to be quoted in this manner,” Takaya said on a 90-minute teleconference.

Almost all of the questions, mostly from Japanese reporters, centred on the IOC’s statement and the costs for Japan.

The IOC statement, on a page titled “Frequently Asked Questions about Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” said Abe agreed that Japan “will continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs.”

After Tokyo’s complaint, the IOC removed Abe’s name and any reference to Japan’s financial obligation. The edited version reads: “The Japanese government has reiterated that it stands ready to fulfil its responsibility for hosting successful games.”

Without using Abe’s name, IOC President Thomas Bach said almost exactly the same thing 10 days ago in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt on Sunday. He said Japan would “continue to cover the costs it would have done” under the agreement signed in 2013.

Abe’s spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, also challenged the IOC and said Tuesday there “is no such agreement related to additional cost stemming from the postponement.”

Despite the conflict, there is not much debate about who will pay; it’s the Japanese side, but it’s also a sensitive subject, particularly for Abe during an economic downturn brought on by the spreading virus.

Story continues below advertisement

Japan is officially spending US$12.6-billion to organize the Olympics, but a government audit report says it’s at least twice that much.

It’s all public money except for US$5.6-billion from a privately funded organizing committee budget.

Under the terms of the Host City Contract signed in 2013 when Tokyo was awarded the games, the city of Tokyo, the Japanese Olympic Committee and local organizers are obligated to pay most of the costs of the Tokyo Games.

Section 68 of the contract reads: “Unless expressly stipulated otherwise in this contract, all obligations of the city, the NOC and/or the OCOG pursuant to this contract, shall be at their expense.”

John Coates of Australia, an IOC member who oversees Tokyo preparations, said in a conference call last week with Tokyo organizers that the postponement would cost the IOC “several hundred million dollars.” Bach said the same thing to the German newspaper.

Coates made it clear the IOC’s payments would go to struggling national Olympic committees and international federations – and not to Tokyo.

Story continues below advertisement

One of Coates’s solutions to help Tokyo was to cut frills from the program.

According to organizing committee documents, the IOC has already contributed about US$1.3-billion to organize the Tokyo Olympics. This is from income of US$5.7-billion in the latest four-year Olympic cycle.

Japan, with a US$5-trillion GDP, obviously has more resources.

Takaya also repeated there is no Plan B despite concerns by some scientists that the pandemic will not allow the Olympics to open in 15 months – July 23, 2021.

“We are not commenting on speculation,” Takaya said. “The new dates are already set. The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and all stakeholders are now dedicating themselves to this new date.”

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies