The Tokyo Olympics are to be postponed for one year after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee released a joint statement today confirming the news.
The President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, and Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, reached the decision during a conference call this morning, declaring that a postponement rather than a cancellation was the best course of action.
On Sunday, Bach announced that the IOC would take 4 weeks to evaluate options to proceed and make a plan for postponement or holding the Games as planned; however, in the 24 hours after that meeting, their hand was forced when two major participants Canada and Australia both announced that they would not participate in an Olympic Games that began in July 2020.
The Games are to be “rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021”.
It has also been agreed that the Games will keep the name ‘Tokyo 2020’ despite taking place the following year. As well as this, the Olympic flame is to remain in Japan and become “the light at the end of the tunnel.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, on Tuesday morning, as the announcement was made, there were nearly 393,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide with 1,140 of those cases in Japan. Japan also has 42 registered deaths caused by COVID-19, which is the name of the disease that the novel coronavirus causes.
The World Health Organization warned on Monday that the pandemic is “accelerating” and that nations must ‘attack’ the outbreak.
Full Joint Statement
The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
They were joined by Mori Yoshiro, the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; the Olympic Minister, Hashimoto Seiko; the Governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko; the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates; IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper; and the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi.
President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.
In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
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.