Olympic Postponement Option Emerging within Japan Govt

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Tokyo, March 13 (Jiji Press)--The idea of postponing the Tokyo Olympics, slated for this summer, in light of the global outbreak of the new coronavirus has begun to emerge within the Japanese government.

Concerns over the fate of the sporting event increased after U.S. President Donald Trump referred to the possibility of the Olympics being delayed for one year. Proposals such as rescheduling the games for autumn this year or delaying the event to next year are apparently being floated in the Japanese government as the world struggles to combat the virus designated as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

"Even if the epidemic comes under control in Japan, hosting the event based on current plans is difficult if the virus keeps spreading overseas," one government source said Friday, suggesting that the government may start considering specific plans for postponement if containment of the virus is nowhere in sight.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke with Trump on the phone for about 50 minutes Friday. Abe told the U.S. leader that he will put full efforts into hosting the games and that he "wants to beat the virus and pull off a success," according to the Japanese government.

But they did not discuss the timing of the opening of the Olympics, currently set for late July. Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Naoki Okada later told reporters that it is obvious the Olympic Games will be held this summer and that the two leaders did not talk about postponing the event at all.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press