Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Admits Olympics Could Be Suspended Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
After weeks of speculation surrounding the start date of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted Monday that the games are in jeopardy of being postponed amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“If it’s difficult to proceed in its complete form, then we must think about the athletes first and consider postponing,” Abe told Parliament. According to sources, countries have threatened to keep their athletes at home unless the competition is postponed. The Tokyo organizing committee told reporters they will announce their decision in four weeks. Japan felt strongly that the Olympics would start on time prior to Monday’s statements.
“What we are going to do before anything else is to start by simulating about whether we postpone one month, three months, five months, one year,” organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori said. “We need to make a simulation about the various scenarios.”
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach spoke on Sunday regarding the dramatic effect a cancellation would have on the athletes involved. “Cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody,” Bach said. He later added that canceling the Olympics would “destroy” the hard work of 11,000 participants across the globe.
We will be guided by the wishes of Prime Minister Abe of Japan, a great friend of the United States and a man who has done a magnificent job on the Olympic Venue, as to attending the Olympic Games in Japan. He will make the proper decision!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
Canada and Australia wrote letters to Bach informing the committee that they won’t send their athletes to the Olympics unless it is postponed. “While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” the Canadian Olympic committee stated.
According to Johns Hopkins University, 335,000 people have been infected with the virus and more than 14,000 people have died thus far.