In what that looks like a final straw that will break the camel back of International Olympics Committee (IOC) came today, when the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has suggested for the first time that this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo may have to be postponed, saying the event cannot be held under current circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 65-year-old’s comments come on the back of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saying yesterday it will reach a final decision on Tokyo 2020 in four weeks, with postponement of the Games set to be assessed.
“If I’m asked whether we can hold the Olympics at this point in time, I would have to say that the world is not in such a condition,” Abe told a parliamentary session, as reported by Kyodo News.
Abe who previously stated he had “secured support to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in their complete form”, said he hopes to hold talks with IOC President Thomas Bach over the issue.
“If it is difficult to hold the Games in such a way, we have to decide to postpone it, giving top priority to (the health of the) athletes,” he told the parliamentary session. Although the IOC will make the final decision, we are of the same view that cancellation is not an option.”
“I think many of them (the athletes) are in areas where they cannot train properly as the new coronavirus is spreading in the world,” Abe added.
Kyodo News reported that the Japanese Government would tell the IOC they would “accept” a postponement of the Games.
In another breath, the head of WHO’s centre on global health law Lawrence Gostin; has also waded into postponement saga in interview with The Wall Street Journal, he said Tokyo 2020 should not go ahead as planned.
“No-one could say with any degree of confidence that the situation globally will be better,” he said.
“Even if you’re on the downturn in Asia and Japan, it would be on the upswing in many parts of the world. I could see the US and Canada near peaking, and possibly in Mexico”.
“I could see the curve of the pandemic on the way up in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Since this is a global event, it would be the height of folly to consider going forward, and that’s if the borders opened, travel restrictions lifted and the airlines started flying.”