IOC and Japan agree to postpone Olympics to 2021 due to coronavirus

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed the Tokyo Olympics are to be postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak

This came after Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC agreed that a postponement was the most appropriate response to the global disruption.

The IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee later said in a joint statement that the Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community”.

They said the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will continue to be called the “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020” even when they are held next year, and the Olympic flame will stay in Japan “as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times”.

The postponement will be a big blow to Japan, which has spent more than $12bn on the event, while huge sums are also at stake for sponsors and broadcasters.

According to Goldman Sachs, it estimated that Japan would lose $4.5bn (550bn yen) in inbound and domestic consumption in 2020 if the Olympics did not take place as planned.

This is the first time the Olympics have been postponed as they were cancelled in 1916, 1940 which was also a planned Tokyo Games, and 1944, during the first and second world wars.