Tokyo 2020 could be postponed to end of year – Japan’s Olympic minister

Tokyo 2020 could be postponed to end of year - Japan's Olympic minister
Seiko Hashimoto says Tokyo 2020 organisers are doing best to ensure the game go ahead as planned. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times, Tokyo: Japan’s Olympic minister said on Tuesday that Tokyo 2020 could be postponed to the end of this year due to serious coronavirus outbreak.

Minister Seiko Hashimoto said this in a response to a question in Japan’s parliament. He said that Japan’s contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “calls for the Games to be held within 2020”, adding that “could be interpreted as allowing a postponement”.

The Games are due to be held between July 24 and August 9.

The minister said Japan is doing all it can to ensure the game as planned. Under the hosting agreement, the right to cancel the Games remains with the IOC.

The president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach says his organization remains “very confident with regard to the success” of the Games in Tokyo.

He encourages all athletes to continue their preparations with great confidence and full steam.

As a result of coronavirus outbreak, a number of high-profile sporting events have already been canceled or postponed, including the Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled for 19 April and the World Athletics Indoor Athletics Championships.

Coronavirus had originated in China, Hubei province to be specific, has spread to more than 60 countries and claimed more than 3,000 lives so far.

Amid the tensions about the fate of Tokyo 2020, the IOC executive board met in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday. In a statement, the organization “expressed its full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 taking place from 24 July to 9 August”.

It said a “joint task force” was started in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020 organizers, the host city of Tokyo, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization.

The board also said that they appreciate and support the measures being taken which constitute an important part of the hosting country’s plans to host safe and secure Games”.