Tokyo Summer Olympics postponed to next year amid COVID-19 outbreak
Updated: 2020-03-25 17:10:58 KST
Following a phone call with the IOC President Thomas Bach, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday announced the two have agreed to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
"I got an answer from President Bach that he agreed 100 percent. We agreed that we would hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics by the summer of 2021."
There have been cancellations of the Olympics in the past, all due to war, but this is the first ever postponement of the modern Olympics in its 124 year history.
The Olympic torch relay, which was supposed to begin from Fukushima on Thursday, has also been delayed, but the flame will stay in the area until it is safe to begin.
Despite the delay, the IOC says the event will still be called 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.
The postponement comes as a huge blow for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Hosting the Tokyo Olympics was the top priority of his tenure.
He had repeatedly stressed that the Olympics would be a trigger to boost Japan's economy.
Japan has already spent 12 billion U.S. dollars preparing for the Olympics.
And Japanese media have reported that it could cost up to around 2.six billion dollars to rearrange the event.
But many national associations and sporting federations support the decision to postpone the Games.
The President of the International Paralympic Committee said the health and well-being of humans should be the number one priority.
The IOC Athletes' Commission and the Olympic committees of several countries have also welcomed the decision.
Meanwhile, athletes are having to change their plans.
South Korea's national handball team is planning to adjust its training schedule to fit the delayed Games.
The national handball team coach said the team had been planning to begin intensive training starting in April, but will now come up with a new plan.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.