2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to be delayed for 'up to a year' due to coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 6:23 AM, Mar 24, 2020

TOKYO — Japan and the IOC have agreed to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo for up to one year.

The Summer Games will now likely take place in Tokyo in 2021.

According to The Washington Post, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that IOC President Thomas Bach "agreed 100 percent" that the games should be postponed.

“In light of the current conditions and for all the athletes, we made a proposal of a postponement of about a year, to hold them securely and safely,” Abe said Tuesday, according to The Post.

The reports come moments after Japan’s NHK public television said Abe would propose a one-year postponement for the Tokyo Olympics during talks with Bach.

Earlier this week, the IOC said it would make a decision on the Tokyo Games over the next four weeks.

The decision comes two days after Canada said it would not send athletes to the 2020 games should they take place as scheduled, and a day after the United States joined the growing list of countries pushing for a postponement.

Read the joint statement from the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee below.

The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is "accelerating". There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.

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.