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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Climbing Costs of Tokyo Olympics

AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File

Spending around the world continues to increase on fighting the spread of the coronavirus. That includes budgeting for events that are still in the planning stages, such as the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The games are scheduled to start seven months from today, but it's still far from certain that they will take place.

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics say they’ll spend nearly a billion dollars to protect athletes and fans from the coronavirus.

That puts the running total for the games’ budget at nearly 16-billion dollars overall — up more than 20% from a year ago and on track for the possible title of most expensive summer Olympics ever.

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto told a news conference Tuesday that it’s an investment — adding, “we are trying to hold a global event during a pandemic, and if we are able to do that, it would mean that we can co-exist with Covid-19.”

His fellow citizens don’t seem to be quite as excited at the prospects of hosting the games — currently scheduled to take place from July 23rd to August 8th.

Last week the national broadcaster NHK released a poll showing just 27% of those surveyed support holding the games next year — with nearly a third wanting them delayed again and another third wanting them cancelled.

Jiji Press found a little more than half of respondents favoring either a further delay or cancellation, while the most recent poll from Kyodo News showed more than 60% opposed to holding the games next year.

Health concerns are one factor, but so are expenses.

About 7-billion dollars of the costs of the games will be covered by private funding — leaving nearly 10-billion dollars up to the taxpayers of Japan.

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