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'The world is not in such a condition': Japanese PM Abe suggests for first time that Tokyo Olympics could be postponed

'The world is not in such a condition': Japanese PM Abe suggests for first time that Tokyo Olympics could be postponed
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says that this summer's Tokyo Olympics may need to be postponed as numerous countries have expressed reservations about participating in the games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After both Canada and Australia announced that they will not send athletes to any Olympics Games hosted this summer, along with reports that various individual athletes are expressing concern, Abe told a Japanese parliamentary meeting that the event will likely need to be rescheduled and said that he will hold talks with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach regarding the matter.

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"If I'm asked whether we can hold the Olympics at this point in time, I would have to say that the world is not in such a condition," Abe said.

The IOC said on Sunday that it will evaluate plans to hold the Olympics, which are scheduled for July 24, at a later date due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has decimated global sport in recent weeks. 

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, said that he backs the idea of reviewing the start date of the games and welcomes deliberations with the IOC.

"Japan is in a critical state, and the situations in the United States and Europe have been abnormal," Mori said.

"We are not so foolish as to say we will do it under our first (plan)."

Olympic organizers had previously expressed hesitance to delay or postpone the event, but said that if it is not possible to hold them in their usual, accepted form, then a postponement appears inevitable.

"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," he said.

"Although the IOC will make the final decision (on the matter), we are of the same view that cancellation is not an option."

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While Japan has yet to record Covid-19 infection rates on a par with some European countries and the United States, some critics have warned of a 'false dawn' due to the low amount of tests conducted relative to the population of the country.

The IOC said on Sunday that they will examine various scenarios for postponing the Olympics "within the next four weeks."

The Paralympics, scheduled to begin on August 25, will also be part of the discussions related to postponing the Olympics.