OLYMPICS

Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 due to coronavirus

After discussions with the IOC, Japan's Prime Minister has confirmed that this summer's Olympic Games will be suspended for one year due the coronavirus pandemic.

Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021
KAZUHIRO NOGI AFP

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis

On Tuesday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the postponement of this summer’s games following a meeting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach.

Last Sunday, the IOC acknowledged for the first time the possibility of suspending the games and was given a period of four weeks to discuss measures with the government of Japan, the City of Tokyo, sponsors, broadcasters, federations and athletes.

Discussions focused on whether to postpone the games until the autumn of 2020, 2021 or 2022. But the host country did not want to wait any longer than one year. Mr. Abe said that the IOC chief, Mr. Bach, was 100 percent in agreement with suspending the games for a year.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the press in front of the prime minister's residence in Tokyo on March 24, 2020.

Pressure had been mounting on Olympic suspension

International pressure to delay the games for one year had begun to grow on the organisers on Monday. Australia, Canada, Poland, Iran, Switzerland and Portugal had announced that they would not send their athletes if the games were moved to autumn of 2020, as protection of health could not be guaranteed in the face of the rapid extension of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Susanne Lyons, head of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympics committees, also asked for the games to be suspended after a survey was conducted to gather the opinion of 1,780 U.S. athletes.

Question marks over Olympic Village

One of the pressing matters now for Tokyo, which has so far invested some 35 billion euros to host the games, is in relation to the Olympic Village.

The Village’s 5,600 apartments built in Tokyo’s bay area have already been sold and were due to be released to buyers in September.