Baron Von Ripper-off, a.k.a. IOC President Thomas Bach

In 2013, when the IOC awarded Tokyo the rights to host the games, Japan estimated the endeavor would cost upward of ¥734 billion.
According to the fifth and latest version of the budget, the Tokyo Games will cost ¥1.64 trillion.
Budget overruns have made the Tokyo Games the most expensive on record.
A 2019 report by the National Audit Board said the games will cost more than ¥3 trillion, pointing to more than ¥1 trillion in related funding that wasn’t listed by the central or Tokyo governments.

3 thoughts on “Baron Von Ripper-off, a.k.a. IOC President Thomas Bach

  1. shinichi Post author

    Japan should cut its losses and tell the IOC to take its Olympic pillage somewhere else

    by Sally Jenkins

    Somewhere along the line Baron Von Ripper-off and the other gold-plated pretenders at the International Olympic Committee decided to treat Japan as their footstool. But Japan didn’t surrender its sovereignty when it agreed to host the Olympics. If the Tokyo Summer Games have become a threat to the national interest, Japan’s leaders should tell the IOC to go find another duchy to plunder. A cancellation would be hard — but it would also be a cure.

    Von Ripper-off, a.k.a. IOC President Thomas Bach, and his attendants have a bad habit of ruining their hosts, like royals on tour who consume all the wheat sheaves in the province and leave stubble behind. Where, exactly, does the IOC get off imperiously insisting that the Games must go on, when fully 72 percent of the Japanese public is reluctant or unwilling to entertain 15,000 foreign athletes and officials in the midst of a pandemic?

    The answer is that the IOC derives its power strictly from the Olympic “host contract.” It’s a highly illuminating document that reveals much about the highhanded organization and how it leaves host nations with crippling debts. Seven pages are devoted to “medical services” the host must provide — free of charge — to anyone with an Olympic credential, including rooms at local hospitals expressly reserved for them and only them. Tokyo organizers have estimated they will need to divert about 10,000 medical workers to service the IOC’s demands.

    Eight Olympic workers tested positive for the coronavirus during the torch relay last week — though they were wearing masks. Less than 2 percent of Japan’s population is vaccinated. Small wonder the head of Japan’s medical workers’ union, Susumu Morita, is incensed at the prospect of draining mass medical resources. “I am furious at the insistence on staging the Olympics despite the risk to patients’ and nurses’ health and lives,” he said in a statement.

    Olympic officials are determined to have a Tokyo Games despite Japan’s growing doubts

    Japan’s leaders should cut their losses and cut them now, with 11 weeks left to get out of the remainders of this deal. The Olympics always cost irrational sums — and they lead to irrational decisions. And it’s an irrational decision to host an international mega-event amid a global pandemic. It’s equally irrational to keep tossing good money after bad.

    At this point, money is the chief reason anyone is even considering going forward with a Summer Games. Japan has invested nearly $25 billion in hosting. But how much more will it cost to try to bubble 15,000 visitors, with daily testing and other protocols, and to provide the security and massive logistics and operating costs? And what might a larger disaster cost?

    Suppose Japan were to break the contract. What would the IOC do? Sue? If so, in what court of justice? Who would have jurisdiction? What would such a suit do to the IOC’s reputation — forcing the Games in a stressed and distressed nation during a pandemic?

    Japan’s leaders have more leverage than they may realize — at the very least, they are in position to extract maximal concessions from the IOC for hosting some limited or delayed version of the Games, one more protective of the host.

    The predicament in Tokyo is symptomatic of a deeper, longer-lasting illness in the Olympics. The Games have become a to-the-very-brink exercise in pain and exhaustion for everyone involved, and fewer countries are willing to accept these terms. Greed and blowout costs have rendered it an event that courts extreme disaster. In September, a report out of Oxford University’s business school found that the IOC has consistently “misled” countries about the risks and costs of hosting. Example: The IOC pretends that a contingency of about 9.1 percent is adequate to cover unforeseen expenses.

    The true average cost overrun on a Summer Games? It’s 213 percent.

    The IOC understates these risks for a reason: because fewer and fewer countries want to do business with it after seeing all the pillage.

    The IOC intentionally encourages excess. It mandates elaborate facilities and events for the sake of revenue, most of which it keeps for itself while dumping the costs entirely on the host, which must guarantee all the financing. The IOC sets the size and design standards, demands the hosts spend bigger and bigger — against all better judgment — while holding close the licensing profits and broadcasts fees. Tokyo’s original budget was $7 billion. It’s now four times that.

    In the Oxford paper, “Regression to the Tail: Why the Olympics Blow Up,” authors Bent Flyvbjerg, Alexander Budzier and Daniel Lunn observe that the Games dwarf every other national building project on earth in terms of cost blowouts — even mega-dams and tunnel digs. The ever-increasing complexity and expense, and the long window of planning (seven to 11 years) make them a project with high uncertainty that can be affected by everything from inflation to terrorist threat and “the risk of a big, fat black swan flying through it.” The Rio Games, held in 2016 in the midst of brutal economic downturn, were 352 percent over their original budget. And these blowouts are “systematic,” not happenstance.

    “Either the IOC is deluded about the real cost-risks when it insists that a 9.1 percent contingency is sufficient, or the Committee deliberately overlooks the uncomfortable facts. In either case, host cities and nations are misled,” they write.

    This is why virtually the only government leaders that will have anything to do with the IOC anymore are thugocrats such as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, who can coerce labor and spend limitlessly for prestige. Over the past 20 years, other potential hosts have dried up. Among those who have wisely said no to the IOC: Barcelona, Boston, Budapest, Davos, Hamburg, Krakow, Munich, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm and Toronto. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who wrested away key concessions from the IOC for the 2028 Games, has observed that most cities “will never say yes to the Olympics again unless they find the right model.” This is where the barons’ gluttony has led them.

    All of this should empower Japan’s leaders to do whatever is best for themselves and their own people. When the Games reasonably could be portrayed as a source of international tourism revenue, perhaps some of the expense could be justified. But now the costs to the Japanese people run much deeper than financial. If ever there was a time and place to remember that the IOC is a fake principality, an oft-corrupt cash receptacle for peddlers with pretensions of grandeur, this is it. The IOC has no real powers, other than those temporarily granted by participant countries, and Japan owes it nothing. A cancellation would be painful — but cleansing.

  2. shinichi Post author

    How money and politics dictate the Tokyo Games

    by Ryusei Takahashi

    The Olympic flame’s departure from the J-Village National Training Center in Fukushima Prefecture on Thursday effectively kicked off the Tokyo Games, setting in motion what’s shaping up to be the most expensive Olympics ever and the first without overseas fans after they were barred from attending in response to the pandemic.

    From the construction of state-of-the-art venues and unprecedented ticket sales to coveted broadcast rights, lucrative sponsorships and backdoor politics, years of commercialization — of the International Olympic Committee and of the world economy itself — have raised the stakes for the global sporting event to new heights, making each investment a greater gamble and every marketing opportunity that much more enticing.

    But possible gains continue to outweigh glaring risks in large part due to momentum propelled by money and politics, but nurtured by the IOC.

    That trend, experts say, might explain why the games haven’t — and likely won’t be — canceled.

    The growing size and stature of the IOC, which exists only to organize and implement the Olympic Games, has made it politically risky and costly for all stakeholders to fold once they’ve placed their bets.

    “People who run large organizations always want it to be larger and the way they do that is by generating money,” said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College in Massachusetts. “There’s a bureaucratic imperative that drives this.”

    The IOC has struggled in recent years to generate enthusiasm or interest among prospective host cities, Zimbalist said. Throughout much of the past 20 years, the host bidding process began sooner than in previous decades and a number of cities dropped out due to the growing financial commitment necessary to hold the games.

    In 2019, following a spate of withdrawals, an IOC commission unanimously voted to remove a requirement for the host city to be elected seven years in advance. Under the changes, which could be used for the host selection process as early as 2030, IOC President Thomas Bach said it’s possible that one candidate could be proposed and selected by the executive board based on a recommendation from a newly formed Future Host Commission.

    Critics at the time said the change could create a system in which host cities are sought after by the IOC, rather than selected from a group of voluntary candidates.

    Diminishing interest in the early 2000s drove the IOC to pour more money into the games, which turned away potential host cities with less cash to spend and forced the IOC to narrow its bidding process in an escalating cycle that has made the games popular for viewers but costly.

    Lucrative deals

    Broadcast rights account for an increasingly large portion of the IOC’s budget and are its greatest chance to turn a profit.

    American broadcaster NBC, which holds U.S. media rights to the Olympics through 2032, has a contract with the IOC that totals ¥477 billion that will be largely upheld even if spectators are restricted further since the global television audience won’t be affected.

    For global companies, the Olympic and Paralympic Games are one of the biggest marketing opportunities in the world.

    More commercialization means more resources and higher stakes, Zimbalist said, and will require ever larger expenses and payments when it comes to insurance.

    While lucrative contracts might protect the IOC’s bottom line, Tokyo organizers are betting that ticket sales, domestic sponsorships and future marketing opportunities will make up for the enormous cost of hosting the Olympics.

    Bloated budget

    Winning the bid to host the Summer Games cost Japan exorbitant amounts of time and political capital and much of the money spent on staffing, infrastructure and construction will never be recouped directly.

    In 2013, when the IOC awarded Tokyo the rights to host the games, Japan estimated the endeavor would cost upward of ¥734 billion.

    That number has grown dramatically with each new iteration of the budget.

    According to the fifth and latest version of the budget released by organizers in December, the Tokyo Games will cost ¥1.64 trillion, a 22% jump from the previous version.

    Over half of the budget comes from public taxpayer money.

    Budget overruns have made the Tokyo Games the most expensive on record, according to a report released by the University of Oxford in September last year, two months before the fifth budget was announced.

    A 2019 report by the National Audit Board said the games will cost more than ¥3 trillion, pointing to more than ¥1 trillion in related funding that wasn’t listed by the central or Tokyo governments.

    Postponing the Tokyo Games cost an additional ¥300 billion, as was reflected in the fifth budget released in November, most of which will be shouldered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the central government.

    Almost a third of additional expenditures will fund coronavirus countermeasures, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for athletes and staff, stricter transportation and lodging methods, as well as hand sanitizer stations, thermometers, fans and oxygen monitors installed at venues to prevent the virus from spreading during events.

    More financial pain

    Stakeholders, including Japan and the IOC, are trying to shield themselves from the added costs incurred by postponing the games and subsequent virus countermeasures, but recent events and new research suggest the financial returns may not be as generous as organizers had originally hoped. The Tokyo Organising Committee announced earlier this month that spectators from abroad will be barred from attending the Tokyo Games.

    Not only will that lead to a loss of ticket revenue, the local economy won’t see benefits from tourism.

    But that will be more painful for Japan than it will be for the IOC.

    The Tokyo Organising Committee said Saturday it will refund nearly 630,000 tickets to the Olympic and Paralympic Games sold to customers overseas.

    Spectators from abroad were expected to account for somewhere between 10% to 20% of the ¥90 billion in total ticket sales, according to organizers.

    However, in addition to lost ticket sales, barring visitors will lead to a ¥70 billion shortfall on purchases that would have been made at restaurants, hotels and tourism destinations during their stay, according to a report published last week by the Daiwa Institute of Research.

    Media reports say organizers are considering plans to limit domestic spectators at competitive events to 50%. If that happens, the report said, losses from that could reach ¥130 billion.

    Marketing opportunity?

    For Japan, the reasons to cancel seem to outnumber the reasons to move forward.

    But the Tokyo Games could serve as a marketing investment and a long-term lifeline for a slumping economy struggling under the pandemic.

    Experts point out that not all of that money is simply disappearing.

    “While the financial losses in ticket sales can’t be recouped, money spent on virus countermeasures and other expenses brought on by postponement will most likely flow back into the economy,” said Tomoyuki Ota, chief research economist and head of the Economic Research Department at the Mizuho Research Institute.

    Security, transportation, infrastructure and the hiring of staff — not to mention a handful of brand new venues built for the Tokyo Games — have all cost organizers huge sums paid mostly to private companies.

    That money, though a large portion came from taxpayers, could flow back into the private sector.

    In 2017, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government estimated the Tokyo Games would have a “legacy impact” of ¥13.1 trillion on the Japanese economy between 2013 and 2030.

    But the positive impact of the games will be weaker, Ota said.

    “There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “The real question is by how much.”

  3. shinichi Post author



    Baron Von Ripper-off, a.k.a. IOC President Thomas Bach(ぼったくり男爵・バッハ会長)とNBCのスティーブ・バーク、ラミーヌ・ディアックと竹田恒和、電通とシンガポール・マフィアなどなど、今回のオリンピック関連で思い浮かぶ個人や会社は数限りない。まるで堤義明の亡霊が何千人もの姿になって世界中に現れた感じだ。




    今、山口瞳が「江分利満氏のオリンピック論」を書いたらどんなことを書くのだろうか? そんな想像をしてみると、いろいろ浮かんでくる。
    2085年東京五輪が開催されることになったら、山口瞳が(いや、江分利満氏が)何を書くのか? 想像は尽きない。



    小田実が「既成事実の重視」「長いものにまかれろ」という社会心理を根づかせたと書いたのはその通りだと思うが、では今はどうなのか? 「文字が読まれなくなった」と書くか、「知性が失われていった」と書くか、それとも「人々は自発的に従うようになった」と書くだろう?





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