【COVID-19】Japan’s Minister raised the possibility of postponing of delaying Tokyo Olympic

Japan’s Olympic minister, Seiko Hashimoto says the Olympic Games could be held later in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

Hashimoto told the public on Wednesday that “the International Olympic Committee [IOC] has the right to cancel the games only if they are not held during 2020,” adding that “this can be interpreted to mean the games can be postponed as long as they are held during the calendar year.”

Tokyo Olympic was planned to be held the Olympic on July 24 until 9 August 2020 and it would cost Japan 20 billion USD. Her statement suggested that the Olympics have a possibility of delaying Tokyo Olympic until winter.

However, according to CBC’s article, the suggestion of a possible change of date was not supported at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board in Switzerland.

The IOC spokesman Mark Adam said, “We are going to have the Games on the 24th of July.” The president of IOC, Thomas Bach and Tokyo organizers have no plan of changing the date for the Tokyo Games.

According to the same article, a schedule executive board meeting on Tuesday, the IOC issued a statement expressing a “full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020”.
The Guardian quotes Bach’s speech from the same saying, “Following a very comprehensive discussion in the executive board, the IOC remains fully committed to the success of the Olympic Games. […] I would like to encourage all the athletes to continue with their preparations for the Olympic Games with great confidence and with full steam.”

Last month, Britain’s conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has said the Summer Olympics and Paralympics could be hosted in London if the Games are forced to move due to the virus outbreak, adding that “as a spokesman for the current mayor, Sadiq Khan, said London would ‘step up to the plate’ if asked, according to City A.M.

Bailey told the press that “Given the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, I urge the Olympic Committee to seriously consider how London could stand ready to host the Olympics should the need arise”.

He also pointed out that London “the infrastructure and the experience, and if I am elected I will make sure London is ready to host the biggest sporting celebration again, if we are called on in an hour of need.”

However, a few days later, the same press wrote another article saying, “Tokyo governor Yurilo Koike has labelled claims London would be ready to host the 2020 Olympics if necessary as ‘inappropriate’.”

IOC said that they have already informed the World Health Organization (WHO) and have not received any further advised on coming up with further contingency plans or to relocate the Olympics. They emphasized that they will work together with WHO to work with public health officials.

An IOC senior member Dick Pound told the Wall Street Journal that “The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo could be cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus if the epidemic is not contained in the next three months.”

The same article pointed out that “several events in the region have already been postponed including domestic soccer matches of Japan’s j-league.”

The last time the Olympic was cancelled was during World War 2.

According to South China Morning Post’s infograph for coronavirus, there are 330 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Japan and 6 cases of death. The graph also pointed out there are over 97,000 total cases around the world.

There are still too many unknowns about the virus to determine whether it is safe to encourage the continuation of this international sporting event.