Tokyo Olympics could stand as a beacon of hope: Japan PM Shinzo Abe

Updated: 25 March, 2020 11:20 IST | AFP | Tokyo

Abe said Bach was in "100 percent agreement" when Japan asked the IOC to push back the Games.

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed to no later than the summer of 2021 because of the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, the International Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday. The Games were scheduled for July 24 to August 9, but after telephone discussions between IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a historic joint decision was taken for the first postponement of an Olympics in peacetime.

Abe said Bach was in "100 percent agreement" when Japan asked the IOC to push back the Games. In a joint statement, the pair said that based on current World Health Organisation information, the Tokyo 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".

Will be called Tokyo 2020

"The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.

"Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020," the statement concluded.

Unparalleled complexity

The IOC came under fire for taking so long to make its decision but the organisers had pointed to the unparalleled complexity—not to mention cost—of shifting the Games. It is not even clear venues will be available and tens of thousands of hotel rooms will need to be cancelled and rebooked. "It is mind-bogglingly complex to make a sudden change after seven years of preparation," Michael Payne, the IOC's former head of marketing, told AFP.

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First Published: 25 March, 2020 10:03 IST

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