Tokyo Governor Considers Using Olympic Athletes Village As Temporary Coronavirus Hospital

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has considered using the Olympic Athletes Village as a temporary coronavirus hospital, the Associated Press reported on Friday, April 3. Though the development on Tokyo Bay is not yet complete, the structure is designed to house up to 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympic athletes. The 24-building complex will otherwise remain empty until the Olympic Games, which were postponed by 16 months.

After the Olympics take place next year, the athletes' village will serve another use. Apart from its Olympic and coronavirus applications, the complex, which holds 5,600 units, will become renovated apartments. Nearly 1,000 of the future apartments have either already been sold or are currently for sale, ranging in price from $500,000 to $2 million. The apartments will be ready for occupants in 2023.

The apartments will be renamed Harumi Flag after the Olympics end. The developers involved in the joint-venture include Mitsui Fudosan Residential Co., Nomura Real Estate Development Co., and Sumitomo Realty & Development Co. In total, 10 prominent companies, as well as the city of Tokyo, are involved in the project. However, the developers currently involved have not heard from the city in regard to using the complex for coronavirus patients. The plans for Harumi Flag could still change due to the 16-month delay of the Olympics.

A large percentage of the bill for the Olympics will be footed by Japanese taxpayers, as further reported. The delay alone could cost taxpayers between $2 billion and $6 billion. Organizers for the event are officially spending as much as $12.6 billion, but a government audit has reported figures that more than double that amount. All but $5.6 billion of the budget will come from taxpayers.

The International Olympic Committee, which is based in Switzerland, is contributing $1.3 billion to the budget. The organizing committee made $5.7 billion during its last Olympic Games four-year cycle. The organization's ability to sell sponsorships and broadcast rights accounted for more than 90 percent of the previous cycle's income.

According to the Associated Press report, Koike described the village as one option. However, he is checking other options for availability since the complex is not yet completely constructed. Another possibility he has considered involves the Tokyo city government buying a hotel that could hold coronavirus patients.

To date, Japan has roughly 3,300 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and 74 related deaths. A total of 97 new cases were also reported on Thursday, April 2. As cases increase, the government is seeking more beds and space to house patients before the outbreak peaks.