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'It is not a matter of weeks, but days': IOC approaching decision on Tokyo 2020 Olympics amid coronavirus pandemic

'It is not a matter of weeks, but days': IOC approaching decision on Tokyo 2020 Olympics amid coronavirus pandemic
The key powerbrokers involved in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are set for key discussions as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) pushes for a definitive decision on the future of the summer Games amid the coronavirus crisis.

According to news agency Reuters Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC President Thomas Bach will hold a conference call on Tuesday to discuss a firm plan for the Games, which are scheduled to take place from July 24.

But the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic has led to growing opposition to the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizers' insistence that the Games can go ahead as planned.

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"Today, the IOC is discussing with the Japanese government, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the IOC Executive Board about the scenario planning including the postponement of the Games and will communicate in due course," said a statement from the IOC.

The IOC's position has visibly changed, as the pushback from member organizations around the world has started to increase.

Canada and Australia have already said their athletes will not participate in a July Games under the current climate, while the Great Britain team has hinted at a similar position.

It prompted the IOC to send a letter to athletes stating that they would come to a decision on the summer Games within four weeks, but sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that timeframe would not be needed.

"A decision will be announced in the coming days. It is not a matter of weeks but days," one source said.

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Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Abe is also believed to be planning a similar conference call meeting with United States President Donald Trump.

Citing several Japanese government officials, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported that Abe will "likely" hold a telephone meeting with President Trump "as early as Wednesday," with the Olympic Games likely to be high on the agenda.

If the Games are postponed or moved, it would represent the first instance of such a move during peacetime in the 124-year history of the Olympics.

But with the global pandemic still spreading, and with more than 16,500 deaths reported worldwide, it appears likely that the Games will be postponed sooner rather than later.

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