The Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed until no later than the summer of 2021, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters Tuesday after speaking by phone with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has proposed a one-year postponement for the Tokyo Olympics during talks with the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach.
Abe said they had established that canceling the Games was out of the question, and that Bach had agreed "100%" that a postponement was the most appropriate response to the global disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators,” Abe told reporters shortly after his conversation with Bach, adding that the Games would be held by the summer of 2021.
Abe had said that postponement was unavoidable if the 2020 Games could not be held in a complete manner amid the coronavirus outbreak. Abe held talks with Bach after the IOC said it would make a decision on the Tokyo Games over the next four weeks, but this is now expected much sooner, possibly within days.
Until just a few days ago the IOC, along with the Tokyo organizing committee and the Japanese government, had insisted there were no plans to delay the Olympics given they were not due to open for another four months but Japan's NHK public television reported on Tuesday that Abe wanted the one-year delay.
Tokyo 2020’s fate was in effect sealed this week when Canada and Australia said they would not send athletes to Japan in July, while the British and French governments urged the IOC to make a quick decision.