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Japan and IOC discord over postponement cost

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 24: IOC President Thomas Bach (C) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) shake hands (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Tokyo Olympics organisers and the IOC have clashed over who will foot the bill for the year-long delay of the Games.

At the core of the dispute is a comment on the International Olympic Committee website attributed to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, that has now been removed. The comment suggested Abe agreed that Japan would shoulder most of the postponement costs, The Japan Times reports.

Tokyo Olympics organising committee spokesman Masa Takaya said his organisation asked the IOC to remove the comment. “It’s not appropriate for the prime minister’s name to be quoted in this manner,” Takaya said.

The IOC statement, on a page titled “Frequently Asked Questions about Olympic Games Tokyo 2020”, had said Abe agreed that Japan “will continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs”.

After Tokyo’s complaint, the IOC removed Abe’s name and any reference to Japan’s financial obligation. The edited version now reads: “The Japanese government has reiterated that it stands ready to fulfil its responsibility for hosting successful games”

Neither side has given an official estimate of the postponement costs, but Tokyo organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto has said they will be “massive”. Media reports in Japan put them between $2bn and $6bn (€1.8bn and €5.5bn)

SportBusiness recently reported IOC president president Thomas Bach as saying the organisation would face extra costs of “several hundred million dollars” due to the postponement.