Japan Minister hints to postpone Tokyo 2020 Games till December

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games may be postponed till December this year. Despite repeated assurances from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the International Olympic Council to ensure Games on the July 24-August 9 schedule, a hint about the postponement till December has been dropped.

The Tokyo Olympics could be postponed until the end of 2020 in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto has reportedly told the Parliament that the Olympic Games Hosting Agreement with the IOC has provision to host the Games till December end.

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Responding to a pointed questions about the Coronavirus threat to the Olympics, Hashimoto has said that “the contract calls for the Games to be held within 2020. That could be interpreted as allowing a postponement.”

“We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned,” US media has quoted from Hashimoto’s address to the lawmakers.

However, the IOC under the hosting agreement reserves the right to cancel or postpone the Games.

The run-up to the Games worldwide is already affected by the Coronavirus threat at a number of Olympic Qualifying events are being deferred on daily basis. Athletes are also missing out on the opportunity to score crucial ranking points to earn a tickets to Tokyo.

Any postponement will have a severe impact on Japan’s economy, while cancellation of the Games will hit the IOC coffers hard as up to 80% of the IOC revenue comes from the Olympic Games.

The Coronavirus spread is gripping the world with more than 92,000 confirmed cases and over 3,100 deaths worldwide. In Japan, 256 people have tested positive for COVID-19, while six of them could not be saved. Besides, 706 patients and six deaths were also reported from the cruise ship Diamond Princess off the Japan coast. Reports also suggested a lady getting affected by the virus for a second time in the first case of a relapse.

British Cycling chief Stephen Park had yesterday hinted that the Games could be held in empty stadiums to prevent the Coronavirus spread.

Also read: Can fans be banned from Tokyo Olympics?

Such are the concerns about Coronavirus that the Indian Government has suspended all visas issue by March 3 to the Japanese citizens. A advisory by the Indian Government today (Tuesday) has confirmed that the visas, e-visas issued to the Japanese, Italian, Iranian and South Korean nationals have been suspended with immediate effect.

The Tokyo Olympics undoubtedly are under sever threat from the COVIN-19 virus, which has spread to at least 70 countries after starting from the Wuhan Province in China, the epicentre of the deadly disease.

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