Press release by the International Olympic Committee (source):
Joint Statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee
The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
They were joined by Mori Yoshiro, the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; the Olympic Minister, Hashimoto Seiko; the Governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko; the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates; IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper; and the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi.
President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.
In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating”. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Press release by the International Paralympic Committee (source):
IPC reaction: Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games postponed
Following the decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons gave the following reaction:
“Postponing the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak is absolutely the right thing to do. The health and well-being of human life must always be our number one priority and staging a sport event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible.
“Sport is not the most important thing right now, preserving human life is. It is essential therefore that all steps are taken to try and limit the spread of this disease.
“The COVID-19 outbreak is now impacting nearly every country in the world and the number of known cases has increased almost five times over in the last 10 days to 375,000.
“At a time when many major communities around the world are in lockdown, with workplaces and shops closed and people urged not to leave their own homes, continuing to pursue the dream of the Tokyo 2020 Games happening this year does not make sense; postponement is the only logical option.
“By taking this decision now, everyone involved in the Paralympic Movement, including all Para athletes, can fully focus on their own health and well-being and staying safe during this unprecedented and difficult time.
“When the Paralympic Games do happen in Tokyo next year, they will be a spectacular global celebration of humanity coming together again as one.
“In the meantime, we will liaise and work closely with our athlete community, National Paralympic Committees and International Federation impacted by this postponement.”