Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of the accompanying video. ©2020 Thomson Reuters
Japan woke up to a new reality Wednesday [March 25]. The Tokyo Olympics — so long anticipated — will now be delayed for up to a year.
In the Japanese capital most seemed to support the decision, but there was regret, too. Haruto Magome, an 18-year-old student, said: “I feel bad for the people who were looking forward to it and the athletes that waited and trained for four years. I’m also worried about the Japanese economy.”
Such economic worries are well founded. Japan has spent billions preparing for the games, including many new venues. Total cancellation would mean a huge loss for the government, organisers, and thousands of businesses, including hotels.
But in the hours after Tuesday’s [March 24] decision to postpone, there was some reassurance. Major sponsors say they will stand by the Summer Games. Procter & Gamble, Intel, Airbnb, Coca-Cola, and Samsung Electronics all reaffirmed their commitment. They’re among 14 firms that have committed almost $4 billion to multi-year deals that make them top-tier sponsors.
Some Japanese backers were more wary, though. Tokyo Gas said it was considering its next steps while tyre maker Bridgestone said it was looking for “creative solutions”. Any companies that do want their money back may find it’s not so simple. Experts contacted by Reuters say deals with the International Olympic Committee probably don’t allow for any refunds.
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