Tokyo Olympic Head Expects Call from IOC's Bach on New Date

Tokyo, Mar 30 (AP) Tokyo Olympic organizers expect to talk with IOC President Thomas Bach this week about potential dates for next year's rescheduled games, with several reports suggesting they will be in the same July-August time slot.

The International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers last week postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I anticipate speaking to President Bach this week," Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said Monday, speaking at the opening of an executive board meeting.

"He tends to call me directly, and that puts me in trouble because I don't have good command of English."

Mori and CEO Toshiro Muto have repeatedly said the Olympics will be held no later than next summer.

This year's games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on August 9. The corresponding weeks next year would mean a July 23 opening ceremony.

Japan's national broadcaster NHK has reported July 23 as the likely opening date, as has the financial newspaper Nikkei.

"Opinions on both sides have been compiled, whether spring or summer," Mori said.

"There are opinions for both options and they both have advantages and disadvantages that are being compared and then will be decided."

After holding out for weeks, local organizers and the IOC last week postponed the Tokyo Games under pressure from athletes, national Olympic bodies and sports federations. It's the first postponement in Olympic history, though there were several cancellations during wartime.

The decision on a date is expected to come quickly. The athletes are demanding it, and any reorganization revolves around a firm time slot.

Both Mori and Muto have said the cost of rescheduling will be "massive" — local reports estimate billions of dollars — with most of the expenses borne by Japanese taxpayers.

Muto promised transparency in calculating the costs, and testing times deciding how they are divided up.

"Since it (the Olympics) were scheduled for this summer, all the venues had given up hosting any other events during this time, so how do we approach that?" Muto asked.

"In addition, there will need to be guarantees when we book the new dates, and there is a possibility this will incur rent payments. So there will be costs incurred and we will need to consider them one by one. I think that will be the tougher process."

Katsuhiro Miyamoto, an emeritus professor of sports economics at Kansai University, puts the costs as high as USD 4 billion.

That would cover the price of maintaining stadiums, refitting them, paying rentals, penalties and other expenses.

Japan is officially spending USD 12.6 billion to organize the Olympics. However, an audit bureau of the Japanese government says the costs are twice that much. All of the spending is public money except $5.6 billion from a privately funded operating budget.

The Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee is contributing $1.3 billion, according to organizing committee documents. The IOC's contribution goes into the operating budget.

Bach has repeatedly called the Tokyo Olympics the best prepared in history. However, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso also termed them "cursed."

Aso competed in shooting in the 1976 Olympics, and was born in 1940.

The Olympics planned for 1940 in Tokyo were canceled because of World War II.

The run-up to the Olympics also saw IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda, who also headed the Japanese Olympic Committee, forced to resign last year amid a bribery scandal. (AP) PM

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