Winter Olympics Could Return to Japan

    • Sapporo could be a frontrunner for the 2030 Olympic Winter Games.
    • The city’s officials estimate hosting the event would cost up to $2.65 billion.

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Japan is once again a frontrunner to host the Olympics as it considers cost-cutting possibilities for the 2030 Winter Games.

Officials for the city of Sapporo estimate hosting the event would cost up to $2.65 billion — reportedly 20% less than 2019 estimates. Roughly $700 million of that would be taxpayer money.

Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, would be able to use 92% of the city’s existing structures, according to mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto. But at almost 60 years old by the time the Games take place, those venues would need refurbishing.

It’s hard to know how precise the numbers are. 

  • Tokyo ended up spending $15.4 billion for the 2020 Games.
  • When the city bid for the event in 2013, it thought it would spend just $7.3 billion, and some think the cost was higher than reported.
  • A study from the University of Oxford found that since 1960, all Olympic Games have had “cost overruns averaging 172%.”

The mayor says he will conduct a public opinion survey about hosting in early 2022, though a statement from organizers already referenced ideas for a bid.

The IOC has not yet revealed when the 2030 host city will be announced. Other cities expressing interest are Ukraine, Vancouver, Salt Lake City, and the Spanish regions of Aragon and Catalonia.