The Paralympics open on August 24, 2021, and close on September 5. The Olympics are to open on July 23.
Organizers have lined up the same 43 venues that would have been used this year for the Olympics and Paralympics. The massive Athletes Village and the media center have also been secured.
"There are no major changes to the schedule," said Hide Nakamura, the games delivery officer. "Having the schedule being fixed is a big step for athletes."
Local organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have offered few details about how these two massive events can be held in the midst of a pandemic, or even the wake of a pandemic. They say they are trying to prepare for many scenarios that could include quarantines, limited fans, and massive cuts in staffing.
Some medical experts have said the Olympics and Paralympics cannot be held safely unless there is a vaccine. Others have said quarantines could be enough to safeguard Japan from athletes coming in from more than 200 countries and territories.
The Olympics involve 11,000 athletes and 4,400 are scheduled for the Paralympics. In addition, tens of thousands of games officials, media, and hospitality providers work behind the scenes. About 4.5 million tickets have already been sold for the Olympics.
The Paralympics involve 539 events and 22 sports.
Japan has attributed just over 1,000 deaths to COVID-19, modest numbers by global standards.
However, Tokyo has seen its new cases rise steadily in the last several weeks. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have resisted calling for a state of emergency, but bars and restaurants in Tokyo have been told to close early.
Organizers have given no cost estimate for the delay, although media in Japan have put it at 2 billion U.S. dollars to 6 billion U.S. dollars. Most of the costs are to be picked up by Japanese governments. The IOC has said it will chip in 650 million U.S. dollars.
The costs of delay come on top of 12.6 billion U.S. dollars that Tokyo says it is officially spending to prepare. A government audit has said the costs are twice that much.
(With input from AP)
(Cover image: A view of the Olympic Rings in front of the Japan Olympic Museum in Shinjuku, Japan. /VCG)