- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Japan’s Olympic minister hinted Tuesday the Summer Games in Tokyo could be held later in the year if coronavirus problems persist.

Speaking to Japan’s parliament, Seiko Hashimoto said their contract only requires the games to be held in 2020, implying a start date later than July 24 would be possible.

“The [International Olympic Committee] has the right to cancel the games only if they are not held during 2020,” she told lawmakers, according to The Japan Times. “This can be interpreted to mean the games can be postponed as long as they are held during the calendar year.”

Japan has recorded about 275 cases of the coronavirus so far, making it the worst-hit country after China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. Also, more than 700 people were infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which docked in quarantine off Yokohama.

The IOC is preparing for the games to start on schedule.
In a statement, its executive board on Tuesday “expressed its full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, taking place from 24 July to 9 August 2020.”

The IOC said it is working with Tokyo, the Japanese government and World Health Organization to ensure a “safe and secure” games. It urged athletes to keep up their preparations.

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