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National expenditure for Tokyo Olympics set to run 7 times over earlier budget estimate: report

The new national stadium is seen under construction in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward. (Mainichi/Masaru Nishimoto)

TOKYO -- The national expenditure for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics is estimated to reach 801.1 billion yen, the Board of Audit revealed on Oct. 4, a figure more than seven times the earlier budget estimate of 112.7 billion yen that the government has indicated. If the spending by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the organizing committee is combined, the total expenditure is likely to reach 3 trillion yen.

The board has asked the government to review the relationship between the games and related programs to show an overall picture of the cost.

Earlier, the Tokyo events were calculated to cost 1.35 trillion yen, and the metropolitan government and the organizing committee agreed to shoulder 600 billion yen each while the central government was to foot the remaining 150 billion yen. The metropolitan government estimated that it will have to pay an additional 810 billion yen for related costs.

Meanwhile, the central government has announced that the estimated spending for the international athletic event was 112.7 billion yen from fiscal 2016 to 2018 budgets to cover 41 programs that "contribute directly to the management and the promotion of the games." This figure, however, does not include spending on relevant programs such as the special training measures for next generation athletes. It also covers only part of the costs for doping countermeasures.

The Board of Audit bases its latest estimate on data obtained from government ministries and agencies, and covers 70 initiatives in 15 areas such as "security improvements" and "heat countermeasures and initiatives for the environment." As a result, the board concluded that a total of 286 programs from fiscal 2013 through 2017 cost 801.1 billion yen.

If spending in later fiscal years and expenditures by other local governments concerned are included, the total money needed is likely to balloon to around 3 trillion yen.

The 70 initiatives the board examined include those that don't seem to have a direct connection with the Olympics and Paralympics such as "effective public relations programs for 'Cool Japan' measures," while they don't include spending that should be linked to the games, such as the money needed for refurbishment costs for the Yoyogi National Stadium. The board, therefore, asked the government to review the way it categorizes calculating costs for the Olympic and Paralympic budget.

The board examination also found other problems with individual programs. For example, there were only 269 doping testers allocated although about 500 of them would be needed for the games. The budget examiners also pointed out that no repair plan and maintenance funds needed after the event are set aside for the new national stadium under construction in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward.

A Cabinet Office official said the board's estimate includes spending on measures with little link with the international athletic meeting, but added that the office "would like to see what can be done through consultations with other ministries and agencies."

(Japanese original by Toru Watanabe, City News Department)

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