TOKYO, Japan – With the coronavirus spreading like wildfire in Asia, there is a possibility that this summer’s Tokyo Olympics could be postponed.
This according to Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto.
In a response to a question in Japan’s parliament, she said Tokyo’s contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “calls for the Games to be held within 2020”, adding that “could be interpreted as allowing a postponement”.
The Games are scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, but the outbreak of the virus could call for the games to be pushed to the end of 2020.
“We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned,” Hashimoto added.
IOC president Thomas Bach said last week that the organisation is “fully committed” to hosting the event as scheduled. The IOC body is the only organization that currently has the authority to cancel the Olympics.
Since the outbreak of the virus, a number of high-profile sporting events have already been cancelled or postponed, including the 2020 World Athletics Indoor Athletics Championships and the Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled for 19 April.
The coronavirus, which originated in China, has spread to more than 60 countries and claimed more than 3,000 lives so far.