Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have agreed to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by around a year.
Following talks with IOC president Thomas Bach, Abe said the Olympics may have to be pushed back as late as summer 2021.
He told reporters: ‘I proposed to postpone for a year and president Thomas Bach responded with 100 percent agreement... this will make it possible for athletes to play in the best condition, and will make the event a safe and secure one for spectators.’
The Games were originally due to take place from July 24 to August 9, but the IOC was under growing pressure to delay them amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
It comes after several countries, including Canada and Australia, pledged last week not to send athletes to the Games if they were to go on as scheduled this summer. Several coaches from the United States also called for the Olympics to be postponed for one year. On Monday morning, the Olympic committees from Germany, Brazil and Norway joined in calling for a postponement.
This is the first time the Olympics has been suspended, though the Games have been cancelled in the past during times of war.