Japan Could Lose Over $56 Billion If Tokyo Olympic Games Cancellation Reports Are True
atest reports have suggested the Japanese government have privately decided to cancel the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Times first reported the nation has ‘given up on any hope’ of hosting the major international event and will target hosting rights to the 2032 Olympic Games instead.
A senior government official reportedly told Reuters: “No one wants to be the first to say so, but the consensus is that it’s too difficult.”
“Personally I don’t think it’s going to happen,” the source said.
This latest news comes after opinion polls showed 80% of the Japanese population are against the Games going ahead in 2021, while Japan remains under a state of emergency in an effort to slow rising COVID-19 positive cases, as Japan’s total COVID-19 cases rose to 347,000 infections and 4,700 deaths.
Estimates from March 2020 suggested if the Olympics were cancelled, Japan would lose more than ¥4.5 trillion (AUD$56 billion).
This comes after reports from the Yomiuri newspaper in Japan that the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to 2021 would cost the organisers approximately $2.5 billion alone.
In response to the reports of an imminent cancellation, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee CEO, Toshiro Muto, told AFP: “It’s precisely because we’re in this situation that we need to remember the value of the Olympics, that humankind can co-exist peacefully through sport.”
The latest reports from a Japanese government audit last month revealed the Games, if completed in 2021, would cost Japanese taxpayers up to $33 billion.
The cancellation reports were apparently sparked by comments from London 2012 Olympic Games Organising Committee deputy chairman, Keith Mills, who said the organisers should be making plans for a cancellation.
“Personally, sitting here, looking at the pandemic around the world, in South America, North America, Africa, and Europe, it looks unlikely,” Mills told the BBC.
“If I were sitting in the shoes of the organisers, I would be making plans for a cancellation and I’m sure they do, but I think they will leave it until absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically in case the vaccinations roll out faster than we all hope.
“But it is a tough call,” he said.
In response to the reports Japan has now set its sights on a bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games instead, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has released a statement insisting plans for a South-East Queensland bid to host the 2032 edition have not been impacted.
“Both Japanese Prime Minister, Suga, and IOC president, Bach, have this week strongly reaffirmed their commitment to the Tokyo Olympic Games going ahead in July this year,” the AOC statement said, suggesting it will not confirm the reports of cancellation.
“The AOC is continuing its planning to ensuring the Australian Olympic Team arrives in Tokyo, competes and returns home safe and COVID-free.
“The AOC, Federal Government, Queensland government and Brisbane City Council are continuing to progress the candidature for the Olympic Games to be held in Queensland in 2032, and that process continues,” the AOC said.
Whether the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are cancelled in 2021 or not, a study from the University of Oxford in late 2020 confirmed Tokyo 2020 will become the most expensive Summer Olympic Games in history.