TOKYO:Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, will propose a one-year postponement for the Tokyo Olympics during talks with IOC president, Thomas Bach.
Abe said a postponement is unavoidable if the 2020 Games cannot be held in a complete manner amid the coronavirus pandemic. Abe held telephone talks with Bach after the IOC said it would make a decision on the Tokyo Games over the next four weeks.
Until just a few days ago the IOC, along with the Tokyo organising 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 wants a one-year delay.
Tokyo 2020’s fate was effectively 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.
“I know this is heartbreaking for so many people, athletes, coaches, staff and fans but this was absolutely the right call and everyone should follow their lead,” the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said.
The US Olympic and Paralympic committee followed suit, citing the “enormous” disruption the pandemic had caused to training and the qualification process.
“Our most important conclusion from this broad athlete response is that even if the current significant health concerns could be alleviated by late summer, the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can’t be overcome in a satisfactory manner,” the committee said in a statement.