Reported conference call asks IOC to change Tokyo 2020 to Tokyo 2021.

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, the Japanese government has remained unshakably optimistic about sticking to the schedule for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which are supposed to open on July 24. That optimism, however, seems to have reached its limit.

Japan’s national broadcaster NHK is reporting that at approximately 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, prime minister Shinzo Abe placed a call from his official residence in Tokyo to Thomas Bach, president of the IOC. Sitting in on the conference call were Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, and Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike. According to the report, Abe proposed postponing the Olympic and Paralympic Games for up to one year.

The conference comes just one day after the Olympic and Paralympic teams of both Canada and Australia announced that they will not be sending athletes to compete if the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are held according to their original schedule, as well as Koike stating that a lockdown scenario is possible for Tokyo depending on the effectiveness of current coronavirus countermeasures over the next three weeks. Ominously, this week also saw a new record for the largest number of single-day confirmed new coronavirus cases in Tokyo when 16 individuals were found to be infected on March 23, with that record itself being surpassed on the 24th when 17 new cases were discovered.

The IOC has yet to officially comment on Abe’s proposal to delay the Olympics by as much as a year. However, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that even if conditions in Japan were to somehow improve enough to make large-scale sporting events not a danger for transmission of the virus among spectators and competitors, the global scale of the epidemic are making Olympic-level training and preparation currently impossible for athletes around the globe. As such, even the best-case for a 2020 Tokyo Olympics is looking like it would be an event with a reduced field of athletes who aren’t performing at their best, and rather than such a severely diminished gathering, waiting until 2021 may ultimately make everyone much happier and, of course, safer.

Source: NHK News Web (1, 2) via Jin
Top image: Wikipedia/17jiangz1
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