Tokyo 2020 Executive Director Toshiro Muto asked Thursday for new dates to be set soon for the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital, originally scheduled for this summer but postponed for a year.

“There are many aspects that cannot advance if the new reception period (for the Games) is not decided quickly,” said Muto, after the first meeting of the special working group created by the organizing committee of the JJ OO for the postponement of competitions.

For his part, the president of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, described as “an unprecedented challenge” the task of readjusting the preparations of the last six years, compared to the thirty members of the group.

Mori and Muto led this meeting of the working group, which also includes the heads of different departments of the organization, such as transport, security or event management, and which was held just two days after the announcement of the delay.

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, said on Wednesday that the games will be played “as soon as possible.”

It could be expensive

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is going to cause “very important costs”, the organizers admitted Thursday, announcing the creation of a working group to manage the consequences of this historic decision due to the coronavirus.

The postponement of the Games from 2020 to 2021, at the latest until the summer of next year, represents a major logistical challenge for the organizers, when the new dates for the largest sporting event on the planet have not yet been set.

“We must ensure that the problems we face can be solved one by one,” Toshiro Muto explained Thursday, promising decisions “as soon as possible.”

“We think that the additional costs generated (by the postponement) are going to be very important,” he added, without offering an estimate in figures.

According to the Japanese economic newspaper ‘Nikkei’, the postponement could cost 300,000 million yen (about 2,500 million euros), including the rental costs of the stages, the modification of hotel reservations and the prolonged employment of the organization’s staff and security officers, among others.

These extraordinary costs could evolve depending on the negotiations between the different actors of the event, in particular the Japanese organizing committee, the city of Tokyo, the Japanese state and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said ‘Nikkei’, citing upcoming sources to the case.

In December 2019, organizers had assessed the total cost of the Tokyo Games at 1.35 trillion yen (€ 11.5 billion) for the Japanese side. “I think we should review certain ambitions downward,” Muto warned this Thursday. “Sometimes you have to agree to review the plans,” he acknowledged.

Yoshiro Mori recalled for his part that never before had the Olympic Games been postponed in peacetime. Tokyo 2020 “will face difficulties that no one has encountered so far.” “I’m sure our staff will know how to deal with them,” but it will be a “very difficult task,” Mori insisted.


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