2020 Tokyo Olympics could cost Japan more than $26 billion

National Stadium, a venue for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, is seen during a Sunday media tour following the stadium's completion.
National Stadium, a venue for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, is seen during a Sunday media tour following the stadium’s completion.
(Behrouz Mehri / AFP via Getty Images)

Japan could end up spending more than $26 billion on the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics — far more than the $7.3 billion originally forecast — according to estimates released on Friday.

The Games’ organizers issued an updated budget that shows $12.6 billion in costs to them and other entities.

But in a separate report, the Board of Audit of Japan identified billions more in expenditures by municipal and national governments that were not included in the Tokyo 2020 ledgers.


Organizers said they should not be held responsible for the additional money.

“As in the previous year, their report did not classify the cost of these items and activities based on their direct relevance to the Games,” Tokyo 2020 told the Associated Press. “It aggregated a wide range of projects that could be seen as contributing to the Games, including those that were implemented without regard to the Games.”

NBCUniversal will air 7,000 hours of programming from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics over multiple platforms. Promoting that coverage has already begun.

Dec. 7, 2019

Various calculations by Japanese media have placed overall spending between $26 billion and $28 billion, more than tripling the cost officials predicted when the International Olympic Committee selected the Japanese capital as host in the fall of 2013.

By comparison, the most recent budget for LA 2028 stands at $6.9 billion — about $700 million more than originally forecast — with nine years to go before those Games. Organizers have said they can minimize costs by using existing stadiums and arenas such as the Coliseum and Staples Center.

Japan has built numerous venues, including an expensive national stadium and athletes village, for the 2020 Summer Games. In their updated budget, organizers noted a $300-million increase in expected revenue, saying they expect to generate $5.9 billion, which would cover the direct spending they have projected.

Sponsorship sales have gone especially well at $3.3 billion. Public demand has also been strong, with ticket requests far outpacing availability and Tokyo 2020 holding additional lotteries.