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Japan, IOC at Odds Over Who Will Pay for Tokyo Olympics Postponement

FILE - A man wearing a face mask walks passed a billboard with the logo of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in Tokyo, Japan, April 2, 2020.

An item that angered Japanese Olympic Games organizers about who will pay the extra costs associated with delaying the 2020 Games has been removed from the International Olympic Committee’s website.

The website contained a question-and-answer section about the Games, which have been rescheduled for next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. In response to a question, the IOC said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had agreed that “Japan will continue to cover the costs it would have had under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs.”

Tokyo Games spokesman Masa Takaya told reporters on a teleconference Tuesday that it was not “appropriate for the prime minister’s name to be quoted in this manner.”

Yoshide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, also pushed back against the IOC’s stance, saying Abe had not agreed that the government will pay any additional costs due to the postponement.

The IOC has since taken down the comments about Abe from the website.

Japan’s Kyodo News agency reports the postponement of the 2020 Games is expected to add almost $3 billion to the price.

A Japanese infectious disease expert said Monday he does not think it is likely the Tokyo Olympic games will be held next year because of what he foresees as the lingering threat of the coronavirus.

In a teleconference interview at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Kobe University Infectious Diseases Professor Kentaro Iwata said because the Olympics involve bringing in athletes and spectators from all over the world, the risk would be high that the COVID-19 outbreak could restart.