Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Thomas Samson, AFP)
  • Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has proposed delaying the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by one year amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.
  • NHK, Japan's state broadcaster reported Tuesday that Abe had proposed the postponement during a phone call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) chairman Thomas Bach.
  • A postponement of the games has looked likely for several days, and on Monday, Dick Pound, a Canadian IOC member, said that it was certain that the Olympics would not begin as scheduled on July 24.
  • The IOC could announce the suspension of the 2020 Olympics as soon as Tuesday, BBC sports editor Dan Roan tweeted.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has proposed delaying the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by one year amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.

NHK, Japan's state broadcaster, reported Tuesday that Abe had proposed the postponement during a phone call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) chairman Thomas Bach.

A postponement of the games has looked likely for several days, and on Monday, Dick Pound, a Canadian IOC member, said that it was certain that the Olympics would not begin as scheduled on July 24.

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound said in a phone interview with USA Today

"The parameters going forward have not been determined," he added. "But the games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."

The IOC could announce the suspension of the 2020 Olympics as soon as Tuesday, BBC sports editor Dan Roan tweeted.

"Today, the IOC is discussing with Japanese govt, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and IOC Executive Board about the scenario planning including the postponement of the Games and will communicate in due course," Roan cited an IOC spokesperson as saying.

Pressure has grown on the IOC and Japan in recent days to make a definitive decision on the fate of the games, with the committee criticised for saying Sunday that it would give itself four weeks to make a call.

Some Olympic associations have already withdrawn from the games, with both Canada and Australia saying that they will not send athletes to Japan, and both the US swimming and track and field teams warning that they may also withdraw.

Canada, backed by its government, was the first to withdraw its athletes from the games.

"Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community," a statement from the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) said on Sunday.

"This is not solely about athlete health - it is about public health.

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