IOC, Tokyo look to scale back Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo organizers have come up with more than 200 ideas to scale back the 2020 Olympics next year to reduce expenditure caused by the postponement, and the plan will be finalized in September, local media reported.

Citing unidentified sources, Kyodo News said the Tokyo organizing committee will review each item to reduce the financial impact of the postponement, while the IOC’s Coordination Commission is expected to make a final proposal at the IOC executive board meeting in September after holding discussions with international sports federations.

The Tokyo Olympics are now scheduled to open in July next year due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is estimated that the postponement will cost several billion dollars.

In order to cut costs, Tokyo organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike agreed to reduce the number of spectators and scale back the opening and closing ceremonies to demonstrate Tokyo’s willingness to ensure the Games have the best chance of going ahead.

Meanwhile, Japan’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday approved a draft second extra budget for fiscal 2020, totaling 31.91 trillion yen ($296 billion), to provide additional funding to front-line medical workers and support people reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

The budget will be entirely financed by government bonds, ballooning Japan’s already huge debt pile which before the outbreak was more than twice the size of its economy and the largest among industrialized countries.

“However, approving the budget is inevitable for Japan given the background that more people are suffering due to job losses,” said Zhou Xuan, chief consultant of Nomura Securities in Tokyo.

According to Japan’s labor ministry, more than 4,000 people were let go or had their contracts terminated in the past week, with 60 percent of them being part-time workers, taking the total number of people who have lost their jobs since January to 21,000.

Separately, to encourage employers to apply for government subsidies to maintain jobs, the new budget has raised the upper limit for subsidies for companies to retain employees to 15,000 yen per day per worker from the current 8,330 yen.

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