¥280.3 billion left out of Tokyo Games expense report

Provided photo
A bento lunch provided to volunteers

A total of ¥280.3 billion in athlete training and facility maintenance costs was not included in the expenses declared in June by the organizing committee for the Tokyo Games, according to an inspection report released by the Board of Audit.

The organizing committee submitted a final total of ¥1.42 trillion in expenses for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. In its report released Wednesday, however, the Board of Audit put the figure at ¥1.7 trillion, after adjustments that also included accounting for expenses erroneously counted more than once.

The board called for the central government to ascertain how the Games’ budget was distributed overall and to disclose appropriate information to the public, including large-scale projects that were partly financed by the private sector and other parties. This is the third and final inspection report on Games-related expenses.

In June, the Tokyo organizing committee announced that the final expenses for the Games totaled ¥1.42 trillion. This figure comprised ¥640.4 billion paid out by the committee, ¥596.5 billion from the Tokyo metropolitan government and ¥186.9 billion from the central government.

The Board of Audit examined the central government’s share and found that the committee’s report did not include about ¥222.6 billion in money spent by the state on training camps and other events to strengthen athletes for the Games, anti-doping measures such as informing athletes of violations, and payroll costs for government officials dispatched to the committee.

About ¥57.6 billion paid by the Japan Sport Council to maintain the National Stadium and Yoyogi Gymnasium was also not included in the committee’s figure. These costs were to be funded by proceeds from the Toto sports promotion lottery operated by the JSC, and the Board of Audit deemed this to be effectively money from state coffers.

Related expenses, such as maintenance costs for the Tokyo metropolitan expressways, were not included in the Games expenses, either. These costs are estimated to be about ¥2 trillion, which would boost the total cost to about ¥3.7 trillion.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Wasted food

Wednesday’s inspection report also described the massive food loss during the Games and the lack of a plan for utilizing the National Stadium, which will serve as a legacy of the Games.

“The decision to hold the Olympics without spectators was made shortly before the Games’ opening, causing the number of volunteers to be reduced. That might have led to the mass disposal of bento boxed lunches,” a food distributer involved in the Games told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

According to the Board of Audit, the bento were originally prepared for volunteer staff who were to be dispatched to competition venues. Of the 1.6 million meals provided during the Games, about 300,000, or 20%, were disposed of without being eaten. Several vendors prepared bento, and the total cost of the outsourcing was about ¥4.7 billion, part of which came from national funds.

In particular, 4,000 of the 10,000 meals prepared for the opening ceremony were wasted. The organizing committee was harshly criticized when this fact came to light, and it apologized for the significant food loss.

To reduce the amount of waste, the committee changed its approach and decided on the final quantity of bento orders three days before each day they were to be recieved. Even then, however, bento remained uneaten, with 300,000 meals ultimately going to waste.

The committee reportedly told the board that it did not sufficiently review the order quantities.

The board’s inspection showed the committee spent about ¥7.1 billion to provide meals at cafeterias in the athletes village. It offered 700 menu items to meet the needs of athletes from all over the world, but of the 1,207 tons of foodstuffs, 175 tons — or 14% — were disposed of without being eaten.

Medical supplies were discarded, too. The committee purchased ¥64 million worth of medical masks and gowns as part of efforts to deal with the coronavirus, but about ¥5 million worth was disposed of due to a lack of storage space after the Games.

The inspection report also highlighted the difficulty in selling the management rights to the National Stadium.

The stadium cost more than ¥160 billion to build and has been in the red since it was completed in fiscal 2019. The government has provided about ¥5.6 billion in supplemental funding through fiscal 2022, as maintenance costs have exceeded operating revenues.

The original plan was to select a bidder after the Games in autumn 2020, to sell the operating rights to a private operator, but no decision has been made yet. Due in part to the pandemic, whoever acquires the rights is expected to struggle to make a profit off the stadium.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
An Olympic monument near the National Stadium in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, in July 2021