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Japanese Prime Minister Confirms 2020 Tokyo Olympics Delay

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
IOC president agrees to 1-year postponement

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Tuesday that Japan has reached an agreement with International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach to delay the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Abe said, "I proposed to postpone for a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement."

The Tokyo Olympics were scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9, followed by the 2020 Summer Paralympics from August 25 to September 6.

USA Today reported on Monday that IOC member Dick Pound told the newspaper that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are postponed. Pound reportedly said that the Olympics will be delayed "likely to 2021," and the IOC will decide the details within the next four weeks.

The IOC announced on Sunday that it has given itself a four-week deadline to decide on the next step for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but added that cancellation is "not an agenda." The committee was instead considering postponement from a few months to a year, or a "scaled-down" version of the Games. Abe said during a Diet committee session on Monday that the Olympics may have to be postponed if the situation makes it difficult to hold the Games.

The first reported cases of COVID-19 were in Wuhan, China in December, and then the disease began to spread in varying rates and intensities across many parts of the globe through incubation in human hosts. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a world health emergency on January 30, and announced on March 11 that it is classifying the outbreak as a pandemic. As of Monday, the WHO reported that there are 334,981 infected individuals worldwide. 14,652 individuals have died from the disease.

As of Monday, the WHO reported that Japan has 1,089 cases of COVID-19 with 41 deaths. These numbers do not include the number of cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama. That cruise ship had 712 infected passengers with seven deaths. The United States has a reported 31,573 cases with 402 deaths as of Monday.

Sources: The Japan Times (Ryusei Takahashi), BBC

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