TOKYO, Japan (CelebrityAccess) — A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee said that the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are still proceeding full speed ahead, despite the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus in the region.
“We are still absolutely heading for the games on July 24,” a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee told the Financial Times but went on to note that the IOC is monitoring developments in the region.
If the games are canceled, it would blow to Japan, which has invested heavily in bringing the games to Japan. In December, the Board of Audit of Japan revealed that the nation has spent at least $12.6 billion on the games, in addition to billions more in expenditures by municipal and national governments that were not reflected in the official tally.
As well, many of Japan’s biggest companies have a financial stake in the games, with companies such as Mizuho and Cannon paying $100 million each to become one of 15 Gold sponsors for the Olympics.
Kiichi Murashima, chief economist at Citi Bank in Tokyo told the Financial Times that a cancellation of the games could impact Japan’s GDP for the three month period the games are scheduled to take place in by as much as .08%.
While the official line of the IOC is that the games will go ahead in Tokyo as planned, the Financial Times reported that behind the scenes, discussions are taking place about contingency plans to relocate the Games, including moving individual competitions to multiple locations around the world. The IOC declined to provide an official statement on the reported plans.
According to the New York Times, as of Wednesday, there are 847 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in or near Japan, with six fatalities to date. The country has been slow to implement testing of suspected cases and has reported shortages of key provisions like surgical masks, disinfectants, virus test kits, and medical personnel capable of conducting the tests, the Times reported.