The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (TOC) have confirmed on 24 March that the Tokyo Olympic Games has been postponed. The major event was originally scheduled to be held from 24 July this year, but has been shifted to 2021.
“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,” stated both parties in an official release. The statement added that Tokyo will continue to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.
The IOC originally said it would decide the possibility of postponing the Games within four weeks but was urged to take necessary action in the shortest time possible by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other parties. This included Canada and Australia who’ve decided to pull out from the Olympics due to athlete health concerns in regards to the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak.
Shinzo Abe, along with TOC president Mori Yoshiro and Tokyo governor Koike Yuriko held a conference call with IOC President Thomas Bach to propose the Games to be postponed for around a year. Bach then agreed to the decision.
“We agreed that the safety, security of the athletes and spectators are paramount,” said TOC president Mori Yoshiro. “From this point, and given the current situation around the world which is steadily worsening, we also agreed that it has become impossible to organise the Games this July as originally scheduled – or at any other time this year, leaving us no choice but to postpone.”
He added that all parties have agreed to organise the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games by “summer of 2021 at the latest.” Furthermore, the Games’ Torch Relay would be suspended, but the Olympic flame – which arrived in Japan on 20 March – will remain in Fukushima for the time being, on the suggestion of Shinzo Abe.