Coronavirus: Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to be pushed back a year, Japan's Prime Minister confirms

The Olympic Games will not go ahead as planned because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Shinzo Abe has said

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed until 2021, the office of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Tuesday.

The International Olympic Committee is yet to make an official statement on the matter, but discussions between its president Thomas Bach and Mr Abe concluded that the Games should be put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A tweet from the PM’s Office of Japan account read: “After his telephone talks with IOC President Bach, PM Abe spoke to the press and explained that the two have agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games would not be cancelled, and the games will be held by the summer of 2021.”

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Mr Abe confirmed plans to call off the summer games while addressing the media: “I proposed to postpone for about a year and president Bach responded with 100 per cent agreement.”

It means that for the first time since the Second World War, the Olympic Games will not go ahead as scheduled.

The spread of COVID-19 has halted sport across the globe and it had become apparent that a start date of July 24 for the Olympic Games was too close for comfort.

Canada and Australia have already stated that they will not be sending their respective teams to Japan due to fears over the safety of competitors and coaching staff.

The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee released an official statement on Sunday, which reads: “While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community.”

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Meanwhile, Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll stressed the importance of making sure all athletes put their own “personal health” above ambitions for success in the far east.

Carroll told reporters on Monday: “The athletes desperately want to go to the games, but they also take on board their own personal health.

“We need to give our athletes that certainty and that’s what we’ve done.”
 

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