As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games is to be postponed until the summer of 2021 after reaching an agreement with International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach.
Following a call with Bach, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori and Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto, the decision to delay was made, with the safety of athletes and visitors as a major factor of concern.
§Abe told reporters that he had asked Bach to “consider that the Tokyo Olympics be postponed for about a year to make sure athletes from around the world are able to perform in the best condition possible and to ensure spectators’ safety and security as a host country.”
The reality of the COVID-19 crisis sinks in
Despite the prime minister’s previous hopes to go ahead with the Tokyo Games in “complete form”, he conceded at a recent parliamentary session that it might not be possible.
“When it comes to hosting the 2020 Games, I don’t believe the world is in any condition to do so at this time,” Abe said before his call with organisers.
In these unprecedented times, this will mark the first time the Olympic Games have been postponed during peacetime, and the decision will have a significant impact on the host nation.
The decision to postpone the event was hastened by the growing number of calls for the organisers to prioritise containment of the outbreak over the staging of the Games
Postponement cost to the Japanese economy
According to a report released by Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, the delay of a year to the 2020 Games would cost Japan more than ¥3 trillion.
Whereas, Kansai University professor emeritus Katsuhiro Miyamoto estimates that the one-year postponement would cost the country around ¥640.8 billion.
While the experts differ in their estimations, there is no question that Japan, as well as numerous organising bodies, sponsors, athletes and stakeholders, will incur major losses due to the rescheduling of the event.
Global pressure to have Olympic Games postponed
The decision to postpone the event was hastened by the growing number of calls for the organisers to prioritise containment of the outbreak over the staging of the Games.
Canada said that it would not send its athletes to the Tokyo 2020 Games unless they were postponed and the coronavirus has been contained. The Australian Olympic Committee told its athletes to prepare for the games to be held in the summer of 2021.
Public support had been dwindling as well, with nearly 70 per cent of Japanese saying they didn’t expect the 2020 Games to be held this summer, according to a Kyodo News survey.
What do you think of the decision to postpone the Olympic Games until next year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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Difficult decisions have to be made to achieve the greater good.