The Tokyo Olympics should take place as scheduled in the summer of 2021 “at any cost,” Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto said.
Japan Olympic minister wants Games ‘at any cost’
Hashimoto made the remarks during a news conference on Tuesday. Via Kyodo News (H/T USA Today Sports):
“All the people involved with the games are working together to prepare, and the athletes are also making considerable efforts toward next year under the circumstances they've been handed,” Hashimoto said.
“I think we have to hold the games at any cost. ... I want to concentrate all our efforts on measures against the coronavirus.”
Organizers are working on COVID-19 safety measures to hold the Olympics, scheduled to begin July 23, and Paralympics, set for Aug. 25.
IOC VP: ‘Games that conquered COVID’
Hashimoto’s “at any cost” comments came a day after IOC vice president John Coates told AFP the Olympics will go on next year no matter what.
“It will take place with or without Covid. The Games will start on July 23 next year.”
“The Games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami,” he said, referring to a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan in 2011.
“Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Japan’s borders are still mostly closed to foreign visitors to help stop the spread of the disease.
Complications of rescheduled Olympics
Postponing an Olympics has never happened before and it’s “mind-bogglingly complex” to move it back a year, longtime Olympic executive Michael Payne told Yahoo Sports’ Henry Bushnell and Jeff Eisenberg in March.
Coates said the IOC is helping financially by spending “something like an extra $800 million to support the international federations, whose income isn't happening this year, and national Olympic Committees,” via AFP.
Japanese Olympic Committee chairman Yasuhiro Yamashita said in July that group is working to “simplify the Games and focus less on flamboyancy and concentrate more on efficiency.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan was expected to spend around $25 billion on the Olympics.
More from Yahoo Sports: