There was a mixed reaction Wednesday to news the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed for up to a year, with some welcoming what was seen as an inevitable decision while others said cancellation was the best option with costs already ballooning.
Hotel operators and those involved in preparations for the major sporting event, however, were left dealing with an uncertain future given no details about the new schedule have been revealed.
A 39-year-old woman who was scheduled to watch beach volleyball said, "I had hoped for the games to be held as planned, but what can you do?" she said.
On the organizers' decision to maintain the "Tokyo 2020" branding even though the event will be held in 2021, the woman said she called it a "good thing" if it can avoid more spending.
Some questioned the timing of the postponement decision and whether it is still worth hosting the games at all.
(A worker removes a sign promoting the Tokyo Olympic torch relay at the Aichi prefectural government office in Nagoya on March 25, 2020.)
A 65-year-old man taking a walk near the Yokohama Stadium, where baseball and softball games are scheduled to be held, said, "The decision should have been made earlier in view of preparations made by athletes and spectators coming from far away."
"I am happy I will be able to see a second Tokyo Olympics, but the upcoming event will be tough (to host) given that additional costs will emerge," he said.
"The costs of the Tokyo Olympics have already grown hugely from what was planned, and a postponement spells even more," said Nobuhiko Okano, a 47-year-old dentist. "The Olympics itself is exciting, but I question whether we should still hold it."
At the Tokyo metropolitan government building, countdown clocks were removed following the postponement announcement, given they now have no set date to count down to.
"We have massive tasks to deal with, but we just have to clear them one by one," said a Tokyo government official. The change of the games' schedule is expected to affect other plans including related events and city developments after the Olympics and Paralympics.
As the games dates could clash with the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election slated for July 2021, an election board official said, "We just want the dates (of the games) to be fixed as soon as possible."
Many hotels were scrambling to deal with the situation as the postponement meant massive cancellations for this summer.
(A Tokyo Olympic countdown clock set up near JR Tokyo Station shows the current time and date on March 25, 2020, rather than the number of days remaining to the games.)
A hotel in Tokyo's Taito Ward, which was almost fully booked for the former July to August Olympic dates, said it is already receiving emails asking for cancellations.
"Unless the virus outbreak comes to an end, it will be hard for us to be fully booked again (for the period)," said an official at the hotel.
The Imperial Hotel Tokyo is now expecting hundreds of reservations to be canceled by organizers and others involved in the games, but it was still hopeful they will book the hotel again for later dates.
"We have almost no reservations for a year later. If the dates are set, it is not hard to deal with (fresh) bookings," a public relations official of the hotel said.
An Aichi prefectural government official in charge of the Olympic torch relay appeared relieved at the postponement decision, which led to the cancellation of the relay which had been scheduled to start in the central Japan region on April 6.
On Wednesday the official was busy making calls to those involved in setting up torch relay reception venues, as well as security staff, while counting the cost of cancellation.
"We had been making preparations for every scenario, but we are busy," the official said.