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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

'Simplified' Tokyo Olympics to trim 2% off estimated $12.7bn bill

Organizers wring out $283m in savings but stick to record number of events

In September, Tokyo Olympics organizers and the International Olympic Committee agreed on 52 steps to simplify the games.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday said their plan to "simplify" the games would cut costs by 30 billion yen ($283 million) -- about 2% of the estimated total outlays -- after the coronavirus pandemic forced a postponement to next summer.

The organizers said they informed the International Olympic Committee of the expected savings during an executive board meeting Wednesday night.

"The results of this simplification will allow us to cut total additional costs associated with the postponement," Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said on Wednesday evening.

"We believe this work will help to create a model for future global events amid the new normal in which we now live," he added.

But 30 billion yen is only a fraction of the 1.35 trillion yen the Olympics and Paralympics were estimated to cost as of last December. Despite the threat from COVID-19 and constraints on global travel, the organizers have been adamant about not reducing the number of events and competitors.

They arrived at the 30 billion yen amount by reviewing the services provided at the games and spending on, say, venue decorations.

Back on Sept. 25, the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo officials agreed on 52 streamlining steps. The list includes scrapping entry ceremonies at the Olympic Village; reducing food, beverage and transportation expenses; and a 10% to 15% cut in the number of non-athlete participants in the festivities, such as International Sports Federation members.

Nevertheless, the games are still to involve a record 33 sports and 339 events. More than 12,000 athletes and officials from 206 countries are expected to attend. Last month, officials announced the torch relay would start on March 25 and last for 121 days, as initially planned.

Meanwhile, with no end to the pandemic in sight, the organizers are discussing ways to ensure a "safe and secure" Olympics through a three-party council that includes the central government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The council was established in September to look at issues including border controls, on-site safeguards and guidelines for spectators. An interim report on virus countermeasures and a final budget are due out by the end of this year.

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