Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the Tokyo Olympic Games could be postponed for the first time this morning.
This is if the event cannot be held in its “complete form” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Abe said that while cancelling the Games was not an option, but a delay was now on the cards if that was the only way to hold the event in its complete form.
He told parlaiment: “If that becomes difficult, we may have no option but to consider postponing the Games.”
Japan has come under mounting pressure from athletes, federations and national committees to postpone the Games.
Sources have told Reuters Tokyo 2020 organisers have started drafting alternative dates for the Olympics.
The decision comes shortly after team Canada have made the decision not to send any athletes amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Japan has reported of 1,086 cases and 36 deaths from the coronavirus.
In a statement released on twitter, team Canada have announced: “The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020.”
Representatives have urged both the the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Olympic Committee to postpone the games.
The statement said: “The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Games for one year and we offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring.
“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. This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health.
“With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.
“The COC and CPC reviewed the letter and news release sent Sunday by the IOC. We are thankful to the IOC for its assurance that it will not be cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games and appreciative that it understands the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement.
“We also applaud the IOC for acknowledging that safeguarding the health and wellness of nations and containing the virus must be our paramount concern. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport.
“The COC and CPC would like to thank our athletes, partners and the Canadian sport community for their patience and for lending us their voices during these unprecedented times. We remain hopeful that the IOC and IPC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games as a part of our collective responsibility to protect our communities and work to contain the spread of the virus.”
Published at Mon, 23 Mar 2020 01:50:00 +0000