Nepal | June 02, 2020

Tokyo Olympics: Looking for a new date for opening, closing

Associated Press
Share Now:

TOKYO: The Tokyo Olympics need new dates for the opening and closing ceremonies in 2021.

Nothing much can get done until those dates are worked out by the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government and Tokyo organizers.

“We must decide this soon, otherwise it will be hard to decide on other things to follow,” Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, told his 30 senior directors — all men but one — seated in a large meeting room on Thursday.

Two days after the unprecedented postponement was announced, the group gathered for the first meeting of what is being called the “Tokyo 2020 New Launch Task Force.” They must put the Olympics back together after they were torn apart by the coronavirus pandemic.

Muto and the president of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, each gave pep speeches. Mori, an 82-year-old former Japanese prime minister, drew on war memories from his youth to summon the resolve to redo in a few months what was seven years in the planning.

He talked of his father going “to the war in the Pacific” and leaving a rugby ball and a baseball glove behind for his young son.

“I’m sorry, I’m an old person and I talk about the old days,” Mori said. “I’m comparing this to the old days and I might be criticized by the media. However, this is the emotion I have inside me and this is the emotion I have as we face the predicament in front of us.”

Muto ran off a condensed string of issues to be resolved: ticketing, security, venues, merchandise, accommodation, the Athletes Village, transportation and lining up unpaid volunteers. He added he was looking at “thousands of contracts” and the interests of broadcasters, sponsors, the IOC, world sports federations and national Olympic committees.

“I didn’t imagine at all we’d be tested to this degree,” he acknowledged.

He also voiced another reality.

“Additional expenses are going to be quite massive we assume,” Muto said.

The Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei has estimated added costs due to the delay of $2.7 billion. This would go on top of an official budget of $12.6 billion. A Japanese national audit agency, however, says the actual amount of spending is about twice that size.

IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday that “all options are on the table” for new dates. He said next year’s Olympics don’t have to be restricted to summer in the Northern Hemisphere and might occur sooner.

Two of the marquee Olympic events — track and swimming — have already scheduled their own world championships for July and August of 2021.

If the Olympics are moved into spring, when it’s cooler in Tokyo, they clash with the end of the European soccer season. In North America, they would bump into Major League Baseball, NBA basketball, NHL hockey and possibly even college basketball. That’s assuming normal sports schedules resume by then.

“The postponed Olympic Games will need sacrifices,” Bach said.

Hidemasa Nakamura, the games delivery officer, was pressed again on dates.

“That’s something we haven’t decided on yet,” he said. “We have no idea when we will be able to finalize the dates. We don’t have a fixed plan how to proceed from here.”


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

People opting to sanitise homes, office spaces as COVID-19 infections keep rising everyday 

Kathmandu Handsanitisers, gloves and masks were our first shield of protection against the spread of coronavirus. And now people have started sanitising their homes and offices as a precautionary measure as infections keep increasing nationwide.   Muna Thapa had never sanitised her Read More...

Dengue

Dengue, scrub typhus infection on the rise in Gandaki Province

POKHARA: Amid the spread of coronavirus contagion across several parts of the nation, dengue and scrub typhus cases too have become a worry some health issues with their steady rise in Gandaki province of late. According to the Health Directorate of the province, 16 persons have been infected wit Read More...

Dailekh reels under scarcity of tests as people return to district in thousands

KATHMANDU: As thousands of people are returning home to Dailekh from India, the district faces a shortage of PCR tests, increasing the risk of widespread transmission of Covid-19 among the locals. Returnees from India, who are placed in various quarantine facilities in Dailekh district, are at a Read More...

25 people discharged from Bhim Hospital in Bhairahawa

BUTWAL: Twenty-five people were sent home from Bhim hospital in Bhairahawa after recovering from Covid-19, on Monday. Among those discharged are 22 men and three women, including a 4-year-old and a 10-year-old girl. Of the 25, 10 are from Gaidahawa Rural Municipality -- including three women f Read More...

Three more COVID-19 positive cases identified in Nawalpur

NAWALPUR: As many as three new cases of coronavirus infection have been reported in Nawalpur district today. Of the newly infected, two persons aged 22 and 36 are from Kawasoti-1 and 12 respectively, while the third person, aged 14, is from Binayi Tribeni Rural Municipality-3. They had recently r Read More...

India climbs to 7th biggest outbreak in world

NEW DELHI: India has registered 230 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 5,394 as the country begins its three-stage reopening on Monday. The lockdown is being eased in most places except for the containment zones now isolated due to coronavirus outbreaks. The Health Ministry sai Read More...

Two construction workers swept away by flood in Kailali

DHANGADHI: Two persons were swept away by the flooded river caused by the incessant rainfall, in Chure Rural Municipality-1 of Kailali district, on Sunday night. Police have identified the deceased as Kamal Thapa (45) and Gopal BK (24) both of Krishnapur Municipality-4 in Kanchanpur district, inf Read More...

UN forced to cut aid to Yemen, even as virus increases need

CAIRO: Aid organizations are making an urgent plea for funding to shore up their operations in war-torn Yemen, saying they have already been forced to stop some of their work even as the coronavirus rips through the country. Some 75% of UN programs in Yemen have had to shut their doors or reduce Read More...