The Tokyo Olympics 2020 Is the Most Expensive Olympic Games in History


The Tokyo Olympics 2020 is going to cost Japan billions. Not only is it the most expensive Olympics to ever be held, it’s also taking place behind closed doors, meaning revenues are going to take an even worse hit.

Due to a one-year delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of setting up the Tokyo Olympics ballooned by $2.8 billion, going way over budget than was originally intended by hte Japanese government. When the country was first announced as the host of the 2020 Olympics in 2013, the initial budget was pegged at about $7.3 billion. Now, the Japanese government estimated the stage cost will be roughly $22 billion, but according to various news organization, it’s expected to reach $28 billion before the games even end.

That’s about 200 percent over budget, and while these figures seem large, Japan is not the only country to experience the overwhelming costs of holding the Olympic Games. The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi went 289 percent over budget, while the 2016 Olympics in Rio went 352 percent over budget. However, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the pandemic delays, and the closed-door policies of the pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will be the most expensive Games in history, made worse by the fact that it’s not even bringing in tourism as the Olympics usually does.

With these massive costs and near-zero tourism turnout, Tokyo will no doubt feel the financial fallout after hosting the 2020 Olympics.

Infographic: The Massive Costs Behind The Olympic Games | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista


It’s largely because of all the investments already made by the Japanese government that made it impossible for them to further delay, or even cancel, the games altogether. Despite the impossibility of the situation, the Tokyo Games has received disapproval from majority of the Japanese population, most of whom oppose holding the Olympics while the country continues to get COVID-19 under control.

Seventy percent of the host country’s population is reportedly against the Tokyo Games. But perhaps no one opposes it more than South Koreans, 86 percent of whom disapprove of holding it due to the pandemic. This is according to a global survey by Ipsos Global Advisor.

Infographic: Tokyo Olympics Face Widespread Opposition | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

How Tokyo Is Preparing

While the Tokyo Games won’t attract large crowds into its stadiums—Olympic Games typically welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors eager to watch the games—it’s still welcoming over 15,000 athletes and 53,000 officials from 207 countries.

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The athletes and officials will be held at the bubble-like Olympics village in Tokyo’s Harumi district, where they will be tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis for the duration of their stay. Isolation areas have also been prepared in case an athlete tests positive.

A lot of former Olympics practices have been suspended due to safety protocols. There will be no more buffets, instead plates will be laid out on tables beforehand. There will be no more public gatherings with alcohol involved. If athletes want to drink, it must be done in their rooms. And the most notorious Olympics tradition of all has been stopped: the distribution of condoms prior to the games. Now, the condoms will be handed out when the games are over and the athletes are about to leave. This is to discourage sexual contact during an already tense time.

At least 95 percent of athletes will be vaccinated by the time the games begin, as well as majority of the volunteers and officials who’ll be in close contact with them.

As for the spectators, venues will allow only a maximum of 10,000 people inside, with social distancing and face masks required. But should Tokyo experience a surge in infections, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that he’d ban all spectators as a precaution.

Japan has been experiencing an average of 3,500 new cases of COVID-19 a day, and it’s doing all it can to prevent it from getting higher as the games near. As it is now, the athletes competing in the 2020 Olympics have far more on their minds than just winning.


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Anri Ichimura
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