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Editorial: Ballooning Tokyo Olympic costs a major concern

Completely different numbers have emerged for the national expenditure for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The Board of Audit announced that the state spent 801.1 billion yen on the Tokyo Olympics during a five-year period. Earlier, the Cabinet Secretariat said the figure was 112.7 billion yen, less than one-seventh of the board number.

Originally, the Games' organizing committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the national government agreed that 1.35 trillion yen in funding would be allocated for the international athletic event. Of the total, the state was to shoulder 150 billion yen. According to the board's calculation, more than 650 billion yen above the ceiling has already been spent.

When Japan made its bid for the 2020 event under the banner of achieving a "compact Olympics," the total cost was estimated at about 734 billion yen. When the new Board of Audit figure and the budget for related programs announced by the metropolitan government are added up, the total price tag could reach 3 trillion yen.

If it was known earlier that the total cost would be this enormous, more questions would have been asked about hosting the Games.

The cost is broken down into two categories -- one for managing the event, and the other for providing administrative services as a "legacy" of the Olympics and Paralympics.

The board's examination of the government's inclusion and exclusion of items in the Games' budget showed some questionable items. For example, the national government included programs with little apparent linkage to the Games such as the use of a weather observation satellite. In contrast, programs for security, part of anti-doping measures and the repair and maintenance of the National Yoyogi Gymnasium were excluded.

Only about 600 billion yen of the total cost can be covered by private funding, and the rest will be paid out of public coffers.

Whether it's for event management or administrative services, from a taxpayer's perspective, the spending is for the Olympic Games.

It is only understandable that the board requested the national government to clarify the overall cost picture of the Olympics by carefully examining the relationship between the Games and those programs.

Leaving those two figures as they are only creates distrust. The organizing committee and other relevant bodies should present their budgets incorporating spending for related programs when they next announce those numbers.

Increasing Olympic and Paralympic costs are discouraging cities from hosting the events, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is worried about the trend.

We understand that the IOC requested that the cost for the 2020 Tokyo Games be shown separately from other associated costs as the spending for the event was reviewed. One has to wonder whether such a practice would encourage cities the world over to host the Olympics and Paralympics in the future.

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