OLYMPIC bosses insisted Tokyo 2020 will go ahead on schedule — after Japanese officials hinted it could be postponed due to the coronavirus.
Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto told their parliament the deal with the International Olympic Committee allowed for a delay.
She said: “The contract calls for the Games to be held within 2020.
“This can be interpreted to mean the Games can be postponed as long as they are held during the calendar year.”
But within hours the IOC had responded with a clear statement maintaining the Games were not a movable feast.
It said: “The IOC expressed its full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, taking place from July 24 to August 9, 2020.
“The IOC heard a report on all the measures taken so far to address the coronavirus situation, followed by a comprehensive discussion.
“We created a task force in February involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the city of Tokyo, government of Japan and the World Health Organisation.
“The IOC appreciates and supports measures being taken, an important part of Tokyo’s plans to host a safe and secure Games and we continue to follow the advice of the WHO.
“All stakeholders continue to work closely together to address the challenges of the coronavirus.”
The IOC stance also comes as a rebuke to the body’s longest-standing member, Dick Pound, who suggested last week a decision on the Games would have to be made by the end of May and the only option was cancellation.
Meanwhile, the Greek Olympic Committee insisted next week’s traditional lighting of the Olympic flame on Mount Olympus would go ahead as scheduled.
Concerns were raised after seven recorded virus cases, all linked to people who had travelled to Italy.
No spectators are allowed at the final rehearsal on March 11, while accreditation numbers are to be “significantly reduced”.
The flame will then be carried on a week-long relay through Greece before being handed over to Games organisers.
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