Tokyo Olympics closing 5 souvenir shops; downsizing another


In this April 2, 2020, photo, a net is laid around a Tokyo 2020 merchandise store after the shop closed for the day at the Narita International Airport in Nairta, near Tokyo. Official Tokyo Olympic souvenir shops are drawing few customers these days. The pandemic and the fact the Olympics have been postponed for a year has wiped out almost all business. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

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TOKYO (AP) — Five official Olympic merchandise shops in Tokyo will close by early June with business hindered by the coronavirus pandemic and the games being postponed until next year, organizers said Tuesday.

It’s not clear if they will reopen.

Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya said in an online news conference that a sixth store in Osaka would also be downsized by early June. Tokyo organizers said 89 stores were operating around Japan at the end of April.

Takaya could not rule out more closures amid the questions surrounding next year’s games and how — or if — they can be held.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next three weeks,” Takaya said. “So in that respect I cannot precisely confirm how many shops will remain after the closure of these shops.”

Organizers have budgeted for income of about $100 million from merchandise sales. This is a small part of the privately financed operating budget of $5.6 billion. The largest amount of income is from local sponsors that are paying $3.3 billion to be part of the games.

Overall, Japan says it is spending $12.6 billion to organize the Olympics, although a national audit says the number is twice that much. This is all public money except for the $5.6 billion operating budget.

The Tokyo Olympics are to open on July 23, 2021 — a one-year delay because of the pandemic. The Paralympics are scheduled to open on Aug. 24, 2021.

Organizers say about 5,500 products are being sold at the “licensed” shops, which carry caps, t-shirts, and even “official” chopsticks — all carrying the Tokyo and Olympic logo.

Tayaya was asked what percentage of products were made in Japan. Many products, including the stuffed animal mascots — Miraitowa for the Olympics and Someity for the Paralympics — carry labels saying made in China or Vietnam. Many other products also carry the “Made in Japan” label.

“Tokyo 2020 does not have an aggregated number in terms of how many products are being made in Japan or outside of Japan,” Takaya said. “In that respect, we will not be able to provide such (a) number.”

He said the Tokyo organizing committee had contracts with suppliers, which are largely free to source products where they wish.


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