The Tokyo Olympics are to be postponed until 2021 after talks between Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach.
Abe said they had established that cancelling the Games was out of the question, and that Bach had agreed ‘100%’ that a postponement was the most appropriate response to the global disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators,’ Abe told reporters shortly after his conversation with Bach, adding that the Games would be held by the summer of 2021.
The Games ‘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 IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee said later in a joint statement.
The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will continue to be called the ‘Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020; even if they are held next year, and the Olympic flame will stay in Japan ‘as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times’.