Japan will be saddled with a bill of almost $2bn to cover the additional cost of postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the coronavirus.
The Kyodo news agency and the Yomiuri newspaper reported that the Games’ organising committee, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Japanese government will decide how much each of the parties will contribute.
The extra costs will come from introducing coronavirus countermeasures, such as setting up testing centres, as well as expenses related to venues, equipment and labour, Kyodo said.
The Tokyo Games, which will open a year later than scheduled on 23 July 2021, are already the most expensive summer Olympics in history, according to a study by Oxford University.
The official cost has been put at $12.6bn, but a government audit last year said the real figure was probably double that.
All but $5.6bn is public money, Reuters said, raising the question of how Japanese taxpayers will react to shouldering an even greater financial burden at a time of economic uncertainty.
The Japanese government, organisers and the International Olympic Committee [IOC] insist that the Games will go ahead despite the pandemic, albeit in a more compact form.
The IOC’s president, Thomas Bach, said during a recent visit to Tokyo that the development of Covid-19 vaccines had boosted the event’s prospects, but warned that they were not a “silver bullet”.
Tens of thousands of athletes and officials are expected to be closely monitored and to live in quarantine-like conditions during the Games. They will be encouraged to forego sightseeing trips and to leave Japan as soon as their events have ended.
No decision has been made on overseas fans, however, with some reports suggesting that a limited number from countries that have brought their infection rates under control may be able to attend.