Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are under threat of postponement due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, Japan’s Olympic Minister admitted in a response to a lawmaker’s question in parliament.
Delay On The Cards
The news that Japan officials are considering postponing the scheduled to begin on July 24 Olympic Games hit the wires as soon as the Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Seiko Hashimoto, answered a question in parliament.
According to the terms of the contractual agreement with the International Olympic Committee /IOC/, the hosting country has the responsibility to hold the games in 2020, which does not exclude any option of postponing the Olympics for the end of the year, on the hopes that by that time the effects of the coronavirus outbreak will subside.
Japan’s latest consideration, by no means implies that the country is sparing efforts to halt the virus outbreak, with the latest measures including asking schools to close and encouraging the curtailment of large crowd gathering events, including sports meetings.
Decision To Cancel Up To IOC
Decision for complete cancellation of the games can only be taken by the IOC, with the latest stance of IOC President, Thomas Bach, being that the organisation is fully committed to holding the 2020 Olympics on schedule despite the virus continuing to spread.
As reiterated by former IOC Vice-President Dick Pound, all options are on the table, including dispersing events across the globe or holding the games behind closed doors, with the worst-case scenario being cancelling the Olympics, but the final decision may be out of the competency of IOC.
“We’re pretty good at dealing with sport problems, but a pandemic is beyond our pay grade”.Dick Pound, Member, IOC
The former Vice-President of IOC Pound believes the time until May would be critical as to what the final decision would be, with statements from the World Health Organisation /WHO/ and Japan Government also playing a huge part whether the Olympics will be held, postponed or cancelled.
“Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organisations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organisations”.International Olympic Committee
Halting Tokyo 2020 Olympics Costly
Postponing the 2020 Olympic Games would be less costly for the Japanese economy, in comparison with the option of dispersing events in other countries, holding the games behind closed doors or even cancelling them.
Direct cost of halting the event will be incurred by Japan, as per latest budget data ¥1.35 trillion /$12.51 billion/are being spent so far, with the government providing ¥120 billion for the Olympic Stadium and ¥30 billion to finance the 2020 Paralympic Games.
Global effect of the coronavirus spread is hard to estimate, but some industry data companies already warned that significant drops in 2020 revenues could be expected.