With the official withdrawal of its bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics, Sapporo on Wednesday joined the growing number of potential hosts shelving their plans even before the International Olympic Committee's selection process begins.

Japanese officials have blamed the decision on the wave of corruption scandals that surfaced in the wake of 2021's Tokyo Summer Games and soured the public's desire to host another Olympics so soon.

Sapporo's exit follows a withdrawn proposal from Spain, split between Barcelona and the Pyrenees. Political infighting doomed that bid, while one from Vancouver is currently in limbo after the city's provincial government refused to underwrite the costs.

Posters to promote Sapporo's bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics are pictured in the northern Japan city in Hokkaido on Oct. 6, 2023. (Kyodo) 

It is not unusual for cities to propose hosting and then drop out before things get serious.

Rome considered bidding for both the 2020 and 2024 Olympics but backed out both times when the prize was not deemed worth the costs. Oslo withdrew from its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics when Norway's government declined to guarantee it.

The cost of hosting has come up again and again when bids have been pulled, but it has not been a focus for Sapporo.

While such costs might not be an issue for leaders of Japan, the most indebted nation in the Group of Seven -- also comprising Canada, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, and the United States -- segments of the Japanese public are certainly aware of the price tag attached to Olympic hosting rights.

A citizens group sued Nagano Prefecture to reimburse taxpayers for the expense of bidding for the 1998 Olympics only to find that the local government had conveniently destroyed records that detailed its lavish spending to woo IOC members.

It is hard to see how the public would be unconcerned by potential debt. After all, out-of-control costs became a daily story once Tokyo won the bid in 2013 and stakeholders began bickering about who would foot the various bills -- a debate that resulted in a search for a new, less-expensive national stadium design.

But for whatever reason, the proponents of the Sapporo bid have chosen to focus on Tokyo's scandals, whose importance might fade in time, rather than the extreme, immutable costs that accompany every bid.

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