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Q&A: State of Tokyo Olympics 2 1/2 months after postponement

American Politics

Q&A: State of Tokyo Olympics 2 1/2 months after postponement

TOKYO — It’s been 2 1/2 months since the Tokyo Olympics were postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So where do the games stand? So far, many ideas about how the Olympic can take place are being floated by the International Olympic Committee, Japanese officials and politicians, and in unsourced Japanese newspaper…

Q&A: State of Tokyo Olympics 2 1/2 months after postponement

TOKYO– It’s been 2 1/2 months because the Tokyo Olympics were held off till next year since of the COVID-19 pandemic. So where do the games stand? Up until now, numerous concepts about how the Olympic can happen are being drifted by the International Olympic Committee, Japanese authorities and political leaders, and in unsourced Japanese newspaper articles originating from regional organizers and political leaders. The focus is on soaring costs, fans– or no fans– possible quarantines for professional athletes, and cutting back to only “the fundamentals.”

Nobody blames the IOC for not understanding what conditions will be a year from now. And from the IOC perspective, there is no need yet to speak honestly and perhaps push away Japanese politicians and residents, sponsors and TELEVISION broadcasters, and professional athletes.

The IOC executive board satisfies on Wednesday and will hear a brief presentation from Tokyo organizers on a remote connection, explaining where things stand. Few surprises and few specifics are expected. The conference lags virtual closed doors, although IOC President Thomas Bach will speak afterward.

Q: Provided the pandemic, will the Olympics truly open on July 23, 2021? There are skeptics, particularly if no vaccine is available.

A: The IOC states “yes,” although that was the position just days prior to the 2020 video games were held off in late March. Japan and the IOC have agreed: the games can not be delayed again. If they can’t be held this time, they will be canceled.

IOC member John Coates, who supervises preparations for Tokyo, said a few weeks ago that the games deal with “genuine problems.” Much relates to the huge scale: 11,000 Olympians, 4,400 Paralympians, 206 nationwide Olympic Committees, dozens of summertime sports federations, 42 locations and more than 5,000 apartments to secure in the Athletes Village, about 25%of which are reported to have actually been sold. Pierre Ducrey, Olympic Games operations director, said last week that maintaining the Olympic Town was “issue No. 1.” This lacks even raising the question of fans.

Q: So, will there be fans? Sports starting up around the world are doing it in empty places.

A: Bach has actually not eliminated completing in empty places. “This is not what we desire,” he said, in an interview with the BBC. But he has actually acknowledged there are questions about access to places. All of this impacts more than 4 million tickets currently offered. Ticket sales are worth at least $800 million to the regional organizing committee. Organizers are unlikely to wish to pay refunds. Tickets have a “force majeure” clause that may get organizers off the hook if the coronavirus is considered beyond “Tokyo 2020’s affordable control.” Not assisting is that Japan, like many other countries, is heading into a recession due to the economic effects of the coronavirus shutdown.

Q: What will the post ponement expense?

A: This is the best-kept secret. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto certainly has a great concept. He’s a former deputy governor of the Back of Japan and a veteran of Japan’s financing ministry. But he has decreased to use any numbers. The quotes in Japan for the postponement range from $2 billion to 6 billion. The IOC has stated it will chip in $650 million “as our part of the assessment” toward the included cost. Therefore, the vast majority of additional expenses are up to Japanese taxpayers. Tokyo stated the games would cost $7.3 billion when it won the quote in2013 The official budget says the video games will cost $126 billion, though a federal government audit states it’s twice that. All however $5.6 billion is public money.

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Ducrey, the Olympic Games operations director, said recently the IOC is in talks with insurance providers about some settlement for the delayed Olympics. The IOC has cancellation insurance but it’s uncertain if that covers an extraordinary post ponement.

Q: How different might these Olympics look on TELEVISION?

A: No matter where the Olympics are held, or in what city, most Olympic venues look much the exact same on tv. The places are studios for a TV production. TELEVISION will have a year to adjust, watching how European soccer clubs, or the NBA, present their video games. TELEVISION pays the Olympic expenses, and the IOC can not do without TELEVISION profits. The IOC makes a minimum of 73%of its earnings– about $4 billion in a four-year Olympic cycle– from offering broadcast rights. By any estimation, it’s challenging to see the video games being canceled and the IOC losing its significant income source. And do not forget, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics open 6 months after Tokyo closes.

Q: Is there any deadline for organizers and the IOC to firm up strategies?

A: Former Olympic minister Toshiaki Endo, a member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party, said recently that March was a possible due date for deciding whether the held off Tokyo Games can go on. Muto, the CEO of Tokyo 2020, has actually stated couple of decisions will be made public before the fall about the shape of the Olympics. Everyone from Bach to Muto to Tokyo Guv Yuriko Koike is preaching cuts. Bach, who has described putting on the games next year “a huge task,” states old methods of running the Olympics have “to be questioned.” Muto has been open about slashing costs and “minimizing service levels.” Koike has actually used the words “structured and simplified” however has provided nothing particular. Among the cuts could be having just one opening and closing ceremony, combined for both the Olympics and Paralympics.

Q: Where do the athletes stand in all of this?

A: Olympics athletes have no single voice. Many get just one opportunity at taking part. The pandemic has economically crushed numerous Olympics-related bodies– sports federations and nationwide Olympic committee– that aid fund professional athletes. Bach earlier this year cautioned versus using the Tokyo Olympics as a platform for highlighting political and social causes. That will certainly be challenged next year in the wake huge demonstrations condemning the death of black Americans by police. American hammer thrower Gwen Berry composed in a open letter this week that “the concept that sport and politics can be separated is unreasonable.”


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