The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese organisers have decided to hold the Olympics from July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo next year. The games were postponed by a year earlier this month due to the coronavirus pandemic that has caused all major sporting events to be cancelled or delayed.
The new dates were agreed Monday between the International Olympic Committee and local organisers.
— Olympics (@Olympics) March 30, 2020
President of the Tokyo organising committee, Yoshiro Mori, had earlier hinted that a decision on the new dates for the Summer Games, which will be called Tokyo 2020 despite being held in 2021, would be taken on Monday itself.
The delay is the first in the 124-year history of the modern Olympics and represents a huge blow for Japan, which invested $13 billion in the run-up to the event, and raised $3 billion from domestic sponsors.
Earlier on Monday, the Games’ chief executive, Toshiro Muto, said the committee was moving “in the direction” of honouring tickets bought for the 2020 Games at the rescheduled event, or providing refunds in case of scheduling changes.
“We want to honour the hopes of all those who purchased the tickets amid high demand,” Muto said. But it was too early to say what the additional costs of the delay would be, he added.
The IOC and Japanese government succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world last Tuesday by agreeing to push back the Olympics because of the coronavirus epidemic, which has infected over 630,000 worldwide and caused over 30,000 deaths till Monday.
What is even worse is that there has been a sudden rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo ever since the announcement of the Olympics postponement was made last week.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday that Japan is now on the brink of a huge jump in cases as it becomes increasingly difficult to trace and keep clusters under control.