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Olympic Uncertainty: A Tokyo 2020 Timeline

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The coronavirus pandemic has cast a shadow over prospects for holding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as scheduled, with some suggesting the Games should be postponed or cancelled.

As the impact of COVID-19 spreads, speculation is rife over whether the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics can be held in Tokyo as planned. The Olympic torch relay that began in Greece on March 12 was cancelled the following day, while the handover to the Tokyo organizers on March 19 will take place behind closed doors. Here is a rundown of key dates for Tokyo 2020 so far.

August 25, 2020 Scheduled start of the Paralympic Games.
July 24, 2020 Scheduled start of the Olympic Games.
March 26, 2020 Scheduled start of the torch relay in Japan from J-Village, Fukushima Prefecture.
March 14, 2020 Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō tells journalists preparations to host the Olympic Games are continuing as planned.
March 13, 2020 The Greek Olympic Committee cancels the remainder of the torch relay in the country.
March 12, 2020 International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach says he will follow the advice of the World Health Organization if it recommends cancellation or postponement of the Games.
March 12, 2020 The Olympic torch lighting ceremony is held in Olympia, Greece.
March 11, 2020 WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
November 30, 2019 The new National Stadium is completed.
November 1, 2019 The IOC announces that marathon and race walk events will be moved from Tokyo to Sapporo due to concerns over high temperatures.
April 2016 New designs by Tokolo Asao are chosen as the official logos for Tokyo 2020.
December 2015 Kuma Kengo is chosen to design the new National Stadium in a second competition.
September 2015 The designs chosen in July 2015 as official logos for Tokyo 2020 are scrapped after accusations of plagiarism.
July 2015 Prime Minister Abe scraps the original design for the new National Stadium after ballooning costs.
September 2013 Tokyo is chosen as the host for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics at a meeting of the IOC in Buenos Aires. In his final presentation, Prime Minister Abe says, “Let me assure you, the situation is under control,” in reference to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture.
November 2012 Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid is chosen to design the new National Stadium.
July 2011 Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintarō announces the city will bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Article originally published on March 17, 2020. It may be updated as the situation changes.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: The torch-lighting ceremony in Greece on March 12, 2020. © Jiji.)

Olympics Paralympics Tokyo 2020 coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic