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Tokyo 2020 trims cost estimate for pandemic Olympics

Tokyo Olympics organisers revised the estimated cost of the Covid-postponed Games downwards on Wednesday, but the figure was still around double the budget proposed in the city’s original 2013 bid.

Despite losing out on ticket sales due to a near-total ban on spectators, organisers said they had saved cash by simplifying events and avoiding the cost of hosting millions of fans.

The event went ahead this summer under strict coronavirus countermeasures after a historic pandemic delay of one year.

Tokyo 2020’s final pre-Games budget, released in December last year, stood at 1.64 trillion yen ($14.3 billion at today’s rates) as costs ballooned because of the postponement.

But on Wednesday, the organisers trimmed this figure to 1.45 trillion yen ($12.7 billion), saying no extra bills would be sent to either the national or Tokyo city governments.

It was still around twice the 734 billion yen the Japanese committee said the Games would cost when it presented its bid to the International Olympic Committee in 2013.

Tokyo experienced its worst-yet Covid-19 surge in the summer as the Olympics approached, fuelling fears the event could worsen outbreaks in Japan and possibly the world.

But in the end, the Olympics and Paralympics delighted many home fans with Japanese athletes claiming 58 medals including 27 golds — the most successful Games for any Japanese delegation.

Spectators were banned from almost all events, however, and organisers said Wednesday they had missed out on roughly 90 billion yen in ticket sales.

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