Cost explosion, allegations of corruption and Corona

The Summer Olympics were awarded to Tokyo as early as 2013. But the list of mishaps from the games in Tokyo is long: exploding costs, allegations of corruption, resignations and the postponement due to the corona pandemic. And above everything hovers the sword of Damocles of the final cancellation of the games.

Before the games were awarded at the 2013 IOC session, there were still concerns about whether the games might be safe, as the Fukushima nuclear disaster was only two years ago at the time the games were awarded. But the statement “the situation is under control” by the Japanese Prime Minister at the time, Shinzo Abe, then convinced the decision-makers and the Japanese capital was able to prevail against its competitors Istanbul and Madrid.

It didn’t take long before the costs of the games in Tokyo exploded, so the design for the new Tokyo National Stadium by the Iraqi-British star architect Zaha Hadid had to be canceled by the Japanese government. At the beginning, the total cost of the games was planned at $ 6.6 billion. In 2020, the officially calculated cost was a conservative $ 15 billion. This makes the Tokyo games the most expensive games ever. The Japanese people also followed the Tokyo Games very critically from the start – which is rather untypical for the Japanese population, said Deutschlandfunk sports editor Marina Schweizer.

1.8 million euros for the bid?

At the same time, allegations of corruption swirled around the games. The focus is primarily on the 1.8 million euros that went to a consulting company called Black Tidings in Singapore shortly before and shortly after the Olympic Games were awarded to Tokyo in autumn 2013. Black Tidings was part of the shadows of the Senegalese Papa Massata Diack, the son of the corrupt longtime IOC member and World Athletics Federation leader Lamine Diack.

The former head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, then resigned and left the IOC in June 2019 after the French authorities investigated him for corruption.

The postponement of the games in March 2020 due to the corona pandemic was then also quite a break with regard to the original slogan for the games as “Games of Reconstruction”, because it quickly became apparent that the games would still be games in the midst of a Will be a pandemic.

“Games of Reconstruction” vs. “Light at the End of the Tunnel”

The IOC has gratefully taken up the slogan of the Games as “Games of Reconstruction”. And after the pandemic was relocated, the IOC described the Games as the “beacon of hope” and the Games as the “light at the end of the tunnel”.

The IOC tries to present itself as doing everything for the safety of the athletes. For example, athletes and journalists should not use local public transport. In addition, the IOC does not look closely when it says that there were hundreds of sports competitions during the pandemic and none was a superspreader event. After the Corona cases at the Fencing World Cup in Budapest or the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Torun, this was definitely not the case everywhere, said Deutschlandfunk sports editor Marina Schweizer.

Politicians are getting nervous

The situation in Japan is currently also driving political decision-makers. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had said in parliament: “I have never put the Olympic Games first. My priority has always been to protect the life and health of the Japanese people. ”This is quite remarkable and was first heard in this way.

The canceled trip to Tokyo by IOC President Thomas Bach for mid-May and the canceled pre-Olympic training camp for US athletes in Chiba also made people sit up and take notice.

The games are of course also about an enormous amount of money if you are insured against a cancellation with the IOC, but the IOC’s reserves are large, so you can cope with this if the worst comes to the worst. The only question is what happens if Japan, as hosts, refuses to host the event.

At the moment it is not even that certain whether the games will really be played in Tokyo. If the costs explode again or something else unexpected happens, the government will come under pressure and that is absolutely to be avoided, especially in view of the parliamentary elections in autumn 2021.

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