Olympic rings illuminated upon return to Tokyo Bay

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TOKYO: The Olympic rings monument was reinstalled in Tokyo Bay on Tuesday, after being removed in August, as the organisers ramp up preparations for next year’s postponed Summer Games.

The rings were later illuminated and the neighbouring Rainbow Bridge lit up in a multi-coloured display, as organisers looked to provide a symbol that the rearranged Games can go ahead safely next year.

However, the return of the monument, which stands 15.3m tall and 32.6m wide and was originally installed in January, was overshadowed by requests from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government that entertainment establishments and restaurants close at 2200 JST until Dec 17.

Because of this, following the rings’ brief illumination on Tuesday, they will go dark until the restrictions are lifted.

However, the return of the rings should send a signal that the Games are indeed getting closer, Tokyo metropolitan government planning director Atsushi Yanashimizu said.

“Since the symbol is here, we want Tokyo residents and also internationally to feel that the Games are coming very soon,” Yanashimizu said. “Also, we want everyone to feel we will have the Tokyo 2020 Games definitely next year.”

The monument will remain in place next to Rainbow Bridge until the Olympics finish in August before being replaced with the Paralympics logo.

The Olympics were pushed back by a year in March because of the novel coronavirus pandemic and organisers have yet to provide a figure for how much the postponement will cost.

On Monday, Kyodo News reported that organisers estimated the cost of coronavirus (Covid-19) countermeasures for the Games would run to around 100 billion yen ($960 million).

When asked to comment on the Kyodo report, a spokesman for organisers said an announcement would be made on an interim report following talks between Tokyo 2020, Tokyo metropolitan government and the Japanese government on Wednesday.

The last official budget given by the organising committee in December 2019, months before the Games were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was $12.6 billion.

The International Olympic Committee have said they expect to pay $800 million in additional costs from the delay but Japan-based organisers have not provided a specific figure.

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee is expected to officially announce an adjusted budget before the end of the year.