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Funding help for Tokyo Olympics in doubt

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    A woman looks at the construction site of the new National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo.

TOKYO >> The Tokyo metropolitan government has requested that Japan’s central government cover the costs of about 20 categories in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. However, the central government was expected to turn down the request. 

The Tokyo government requested the state pay the costs of the Olympic torch relay, the opening and closing ceremonies and other categories, according to sources. However, with the central government poised to reject the request, the Tokyo government will likely be forced to cough up most of the money.

The cost of hosting the sports extravaganza is estimated to reach up to 1.8 trillion yen ($15.8 billion). Of that amount, it is yet to be determined who will pay about 750 billion yen, mostly for operating expenses.

During talks in mid-April regarding who is to settle expenses, the Tokyo government sounded out the central government about taking over costs including the torch relay; opening and closing ceremonies; making public transportation free during the Games; steps to counter the summer heat; and improvements to permanent facilities belonging to local governments, according to well-informed sources.

Although the Tokyo government did not present specific costs for the about 20 categories, a source estimated they would probably be “100 billion yen or more, if all were included.”

The categories were initially to be paid for by the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

However, the swelling costs of hosting the Games made it certain that the committee’s income would not be able to completely cover the expenses.

Documents the bid committee submitted to the International Olympic Committee stated that the Tokyo government would cover any shortfalls resulting from the organizing committee running short of funds.

The documents also stated that the central government would cover any costs the Tokyo government could not cover.

The central government has not changed its position that Tokyo, as the host city with a wealthy local government, should pay these expenses.

The central government has informed the Tokyo government of its intention to reject the request to shoulder the costs of the 20 categories.

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