Tokyo, March 23 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the Parliament on Monday that the Tokyo Olympic Games could be postponed due to the global spread of coronavirus.
It is the first time for the Prime Minister to announce that the Games, which currently was scheduled on July 24, might be put off under mounting pressure from sports organisations around the world, reports Xinhua news agency.
"If it is difficult to hold the games in such a way, we have to decide to postpone it, giving top priority to (the health of the) athletes," Abe said.
But Abe stressed that the Games will by no means be cancelled. "Cancellation is not an option," Abe said.
IOC president Thomas Bach, in an open letter to athletes, on Sunday that the IOC will "start detailed discussions" with the Tokyo 2020 and Japanese government to "complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement."
"The IOC is confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks," Bach said. He emphasised that "cancellation is not on the agenda".