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Tokyo organisers to save over $280 million with 'simplification' measures

TOKYO (Reuters) - Organisers of the rearranged Tokyo Olympics announced on Wednesday that they will be introducing cost-cutting measures to save 30 billion yen ($283 million) as they plan to be a ‘role model’ for future Games.

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In March, the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) postponed the Games until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, the IOC have said they expect to pay $800 million in additional costs because of the delay but Japan-based organisers have been more coy with their numbers.

On Wednesday, members of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee made a virtual presentation to the IOC, where they laid out more than 50 ‘simplification’ measures.

“We believe that this work will help to create a model for future global events, including any upcoming Games amid the new normal with which we now live,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said following the presentation.

“We will continue to strive to make the Tokyo 2020 Games a legacy for humanity in the future.”

These measures include cutting spending on the look of the Games venues, changes to torch relay operations and reducing non-athlete personnel coming to Tokyo.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said there would be more cost-cutting measures to come.

The last budget given by the organising committee in December 2019, months before postponement, was $12.6 billion. Muto said a new budget would be announced at the end of this year.

“As we are in the COVID-19 universe now, what was considered a given is no longer the case,” added Muto.

“Are we living in a world where having this major, flashy festival in suitable? I think this has been a major turning point in this regard.”

Many key issues, such as whether spectators will be allowed into venues, have yet to be decided.

Organisers have been bullish about the Olympics going ahead in 2021, despite the rising death rate from coronavirus across the world.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said last month that the Games would go ahead next year “no matter what happens.”

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Alison Williams and Christian Radnedge