Tokyo: With the Tokyo Olympics less than two months away, a research institute has estimated that cancelling the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics with an eye on the COVID-19 situation will cost Japan around 1.81 trillion yen ($17 billion).
As per a report in Kyodo News, the Nomura Research Institute has warned of even a bigger economic loss if a fresh state of emergency is declared. "Even if the games are cancelled, the economic loss will be smaller than (the damage done by) a state of emergency," Takahide Kiuchi, executive economist at the Nomura Research Institute, said.
Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has said the IOC is willing to send medical staff to Tokyo Olympics to deal with the COVID-19 situation.
"The IOC has offered to the organising committee to have additional medical personnel...to support the medical operations and the strict implementation of COVID-19 countermeasures," he said at the start of a three-day virtual meeting between Japan and the IOC's Coordination Commission.
Throwing further light on the situation, the IOC chief had said he expects over 80 per cent of the residents of the athletes' village to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus during the course of the Games.
"We must concentrate on delivery of these safe and secure Olympic Games because the opening ceremony is only 65 days away," he said.
Earlier, a poll by Kyodo News showed that 59.7 per cent of respondents back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option, reported The Japan Times. The poll found that 87.7 per cent of respondents worry that an influx of athletes and staff members from abroad may spread the virus.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to open on July 23, while the Paralympics is slated to begin on August 24. Tokyo is among nine prefectures currently under a state of emergency that will last until May 31 due to surge in infections.