Japan’s Olympic Minister yesterday said the Tokyo 2020 Games could be postponed from the summer until later in the year amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak.
In a response to a question in Japan’s parliament, Seiko Hashimoto said Tokyo’s contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “calls for the Games to be held within 2020”.
She added that “could be interpreted as allowing a postponement”.
The Games are due to be held from July 24 to August 9.
“We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned,” Hashimoto added.
Under the hosting agreement the right to cancel the Games remains with the IOC.
IOC President Thomas Bach said his organisation remains “very confident with regard the success” of the Games in Tokyo.
“I would like to encourage all the athletes to continue their preparations with great confidence and full steam,” added the German.
A number of high-profile sporting events have already been cancelled or postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, including the World Athletics Indoor Athletics Championships and the Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled for April 19.
Coronavirus, which originated in China, has spread to more than 60 countries and claimed more than 3,000 lives so far. (BBC)