According to a report by The Japan Times, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games may be an option if holding the event in its ‘complete form’ becomes impossible amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Abe added that ‘cancellation is not an option'. After weeks of insisting that the Games will go on as planned, this is the first time Abe has mentioned the possibility of postponement, although he acknowledged that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make the final decision.
The IOC is on the same page as Abe – it is not planning on cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. However, the IOC will start ‘scenario planning’ due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. This includes a potential postponement of the Games.
Japan Today reports that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is in agreement with the IOC, citing IPC President Andrew Parsons: ‘The next four weeks will provide time to see if the global health situation improves, while giving a window of opportunity to look into different scenarios should the dates of the Games need to be changed.’
Canada announced it will not be sending athletes to the Olympics unless the event is postponed until 2021; it is the first team to do so. Australia, on the other hand, has not backed out of the 2020 Games yet, although the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has told the athletes to prepare for the Games to take place in 2021. New Zealand, Brazil, Norway and Slovenia have also pushed for the Games postponement.
Even though the government has cancelled events that gather large crowds, the welcoming ceremony for the Olympic flame brought around 50,000 people to Sendai Station, where the flame was displayed.