Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have reported the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to a later date as COVID-19 spreads.
The emergency conference call between Shinzō Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach stated that the decision was made to postpone the event, despite the fact that Japan has reported a comparatively limited number of incidents, considering the worldwide Olympics appeal and fanbase. Yet more than 375,000 cases of COVID-19 are currently registered worldwide.
The joint statement said: “In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.
“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Various representatives of the IOC and the organising committee of Tokyo joined the conference call to endorse the latest draft proposal to hold the Olympic Games in Japan, with a possible 2021 date on the cards. But all the branding of the Games will remain the same.
Eventually, the decision was made because, among others, Olympic committees from Canada, the USA and Great Britain had been forced to deny participation if the original date was set.