Japan, IOC agree to postpone Tokyo Olympics for one year
NHK -- Mar 24
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach agreed Tuesday to postpone this summer's Tokyo Olympics for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Japanese leader said.

After speaking with Bach on the phone, Abe told reporters that they will aim to hold the Olympics and Paralympics next year in summer at the latest.

It is the first time ever that the quadrennial sporting event has been postponed.

The IOC will hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the postponement of the Tokyo Games, Abe said.

Following the teleconference with Bach, Abe said the Games would not be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but efforts would be made toward a roughly one-year postponement.

The unprecedented delay will be a major blow to host Japan and is certain to have a cascade of economic, political and social ramifications. It will also pose considerable logistical challenges to Olympic organizers.

The phone talks came amid mounting pressure from athletes and sports organizations to reschedule the Olympics due to the rapid spread of the virus, and just a day after Abe told parliament that the Summer Games cannot be held under the current circumstances, suggesting for the first time that they may have to be postponed.

Athletes have been struggling to train as gyms and other sports facilities have been closed since the virus that broke out in China late last year spread to all of the world's seven continents except Antarctica.

More than 380,000 people have been infected and over 16,000 who contracted the pneumonia-causing COVID-19 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

As the World Health Organization has warned that "the pandemic is accelerating," scores of Olympic qualifiers and major sports tournaments have been canceled, while countless travel restrictions have been imposed across the globe.

The IOC has said so far only 57 percent of athletes have been qualified for the forthcoming Games, although the Olympic flame was lit on March 12 in Greece as planned and it arrived in Japan on Friday.

電話会談で、東京オリンピックの延期を安倍総理大臣が要請し、IOCのバッハ会長と来年夏までに開催することで合意しました。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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