I read a post earlier in the year by @erikah on this problem and thought I would go and see how big a problem this really is.
With the Tokyo Olympics on hold until June next year there is still the "if" in the air. What if Covid is still with us in 9 months time will the event still happen? Organisers say only if it is safe to do so which leaves everyone waiting on tender hooks including the developers of the athletes village.
The land that the village sits onis a man made island that was sold to developers for 1/6 th of the land price value. Looks like they did the government a favor clearing land no one really wanted.
Harumi Village is the new area of Tokyo that houses the 10 000 athletes and officials. Some were sold in the first phase and buyers have until December to take a refund or wait and see. Many may just wait and see as if there is no event there could be a massive fire sale to clear what could be a white elephant. The worry is they won't be able to run the sales out in a set format and will just dump everything all at once. The cherry picked apartments will fly off the shelves leaving empty apartments dotted all over that no one really wants.
The condo's with views will sell but what about the others? Smart investors will surely hold off and wait. The hype over hosting the Olympics has faded away and the developers need the Olympics to happen to sell their stock.
There are 23 tower blocks that will be converted into roughly 4000 condominiums and over 1000 smaller apartments. The top apartments with the best views over Tokyo Bay are expected to fetch around $1.5 million. An entire new suburb or lifestyle area is the plan to accommodate more than 12 000 people. Schools, gyms and commercial properties to support this community have also been planned to be added.
The consequences of no Olympics is too disastrous to even contemplate. The delayed Olympics is thought to be costing the Japanese in the region of $2.7 billion. There is insurance to cover some of the losses, but the cost to put on the biggest sporting event is thought to be in the region of $28 billion which was audited in December last year by the government. Cutting back on public transport to the Harumi village has not helped leaving the island community a little isolated. The Government is reluctant to spend more on something that is not a sure thing which also makes the properties harder to shift. The proposed bus system would move on average 2000 people per hour which may not be adequate enough.
The nearest train station is over 25 minutes walk away and that station has over 100 000 passengers for rush hour already. Not exactly living the dream buying here. Another thought would the Japanese as a people look on this as a bad omen as they do have superstitions. I don't know as their customs are different to what someone in the Western world might think.
The reason for putting the village here was an easy one as it was from another government cock up. In 1996 the World City Expo Tokyo was planned in the area of the man made islands. That event was cancelled due to the financial bubble that burst around the world forcing concerns over excessive public expenditure. $28 billion sounds excessive to me for the Olympics as the original budget was thought to be under $13 billion. Losses are guaranteed it just depends how much.
The International Olympic Committee or IOC as we know it only made $5.7 billion from it's last 4 year cycle which included the summer and winter Olympics. Istanbul (Turkey) and Madrid (Spain) lost out in the selection process to Tokyo and it was looking like a good event to skip right now. This sort of event could cripple a city for decades unless there is a plan to print more money. That is the answer these days and all Governments seem to be quick to jump on the printing press. Japan can't look to the IOC to bale them out as it is reported they have cash reserves of only $2 billion. They are still in it neck deep no matter how much the insurance pays out as it all can't be claimed back with no event.
The latest thoughts as a back up is to have a covid medical facility inside the village over and above the normal medical facilities. The problem is if it is still a problem by then is how to keep everyone free of the virus. Firstly athletes come from all over the world and then you house them all together. This is not like the Tour de France with 400-500 people travelling in bubbles, but over 10 000.
Panasonic have supplied power for the village using their Hydrogen Power Stations supplying clean electricity. Vehicles will run on Hydrogen cells as well as there is very little down time compared to battery run vehicles. We are talking minutes which I didn't realise to recharge compared to the lengthy electric recharging.
Japan will be praying everything opens up as the tourist industry is the reason countries bid for these types of sporting events. The Japanese hosted the Rugby World Cup last year and had typhoons with some games being cancelled. This is on a bigger scale however and I cannot see them making what they spent back or not even close.
Governments unfortunately find ways of making their citizens pay by hiking up local council taxes and other sneaky underhand moves. The last thing Japan needed was an extra 4000 condos though as they have a shrinking population due to the age imbalance. There are more older people in Japan which obviously has an impact on birthrate leaving many abandoned properties littering the countryside.
Whatever happens I hope the event goes ahead as the losses incurred will be far less than what they possibly could be. Not good news whatever way you look at it and I wonder if other countries will be so willing to host something like this in the future. I know the South African Government would be tempted as it is a prime time to be corrupt as we have seen some arrests locally dealing with the 2010 Football World Cup recently. I think the next host has to be a country with the facilities already as otherwise it is financial suicide.