Tokyo organizers shift gears to prepare for 2021 Games
TOKYO – The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee set up a task force on Thursday to start dealing with the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games.
The team held the first meeting two days after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the postponement of the Games with the novel coronavirus spreading worldwide rapidly.
"From now on, we take on an unprecedented challenge," organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori told some 30 members of the team.
"We are in a race against time," organizing committee chief executive Toshiro Muto said. "There are so many issues that cannot proceed unless the new date for the Games is not decided."
Meanwhile, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told Kyodo News that she will ask the IOC to share the costs incurred by the postponement until 2021.
The governor said that host Tokyo will call on the IOC to "play a role," Kyodo reported.
Tokyo will "make an estimate promptly," she told Kyodo.
Koike told reporters on Wednesday that Tokyo will have an "enormous task ahead of us."
"We have problems piled up. But it's better than cancellation," she added.
Officials said the postponement could cost Japan around 300 billion yen (2.7 billion dollars), the report said.
Kansai University economics professor emeritus Katsuhiro Miyamoto estimated the country would have to spend around 640 billion yen on the delay, he said in a statement.
Tokyo, the government and organizers have been criticized for the already costly Games.
Before Tuesday's decision to delay the Olympics, officials said Japan could spend more than 3 trillion yen, far larger than the 734 billion yen originally estimated when Tokyo was awarded the Games in 2013, calling for a "compact Olympics."
The Games were originally scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9 and the Paralympics from August 25 to September 6.
In a telephone press conference on Wednesday, IOC president Thomas Bach said the Tokyo Games in 2021 will need "sacrifices" as the IOC aims to find a suitable date next year as soon as possible.
A task force, called "Here We Go" and comprising the Tokyo organizers and an IOC coordination commission, has also been set up to start planning for 2021 including finding a new date for the Games.dpa