Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee have agreed that the upcoming Tokyo Games “will be held by the summer of 2021,” the prime minister’s office announced Tuesday.
The 2020 Summer Olympics were originally slated to kick off in Japan’s capital on July 24, but there has been mounting pressure for organizers to postpone or cancel the Games due to an ongoing pandemic of the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organization warned Monday is “accelerating.”
“I proposed to postpone for about a year and president Bach responded with 100% agreement,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo Tuesday, referring to Thomas Bach, head of the International Olympic Committee.
Abe — who pushed hard for Tokyo’s selection as the host city — and Bach both agreed that the Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021,” according to a joint statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the statement said. “Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Source: ABC News