Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike have proposed a one-year postponement of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in a conference call with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
Abe said Bach agreed “100%” with this proposal, which would have to be approved by the IOC’s Executive Board.
The Olympics have never been postponed in history. The modern Olympics has been canceled only during wartime. A final decision would have to be announced and made by the IOC and Bach.
The announcement by Abe comes after senior IOC member Dick Pound said that the fate of the Tokyo Olympics would be a postponement. On Sunday, the IOC said it would take up to four weeks to make a final decision on the Tokyo Olympics and the possibility of postponing it to later this year or 2021. The opening ceremony is currently set for July 24. A cancelation was taken off the table and not an option.
Abe and Bach initially remained firm in their stance that the Summer Olympics would go on as planned. Abe’s public opinion changed on Monday when he said that the Olympics could not be held in its “complete form” as scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The IOC has faced mounting pressure to make a final decision for weeks. Canada’s Olympic Committee was the first to say it would not send its athletes to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics if it proceeded in this calendar year. Australia followed up and said, “It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July.” The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee surveyed 1,780 athletes before determining it is “more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising.”
There are more than 369,400 confirmed cases of the coronavirus virus globally across at least 165 countries.