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There are growing calls in Japan to delay or cancel the Tokyo Olympics

There are growing calls in Japan to delay or cancel the Tokyo Olympics

Posted March. 17, 2020 07:48,   

Updated March. 17, 2020 07:48


According to a survey conducted by the Sports Hochi newspaper on Saturday, 61.4% (307) of the 500 respondents said the Tokyo Olympics, slated for this summer (July 24-Aug. 9), should be delayed and 19.4% (97) said the sporting event should be canceled. Only 19.2% (96) of the respondents said the Olympics should go ahead as planned. Similar results came out of a survey conducted by the Sports Nippon on Sunday.

Of the 890 respondents, 57.2% (509) said the Olympics should be delayed and 20.6% (183) said it should be canceled. The results from the two surveys were quite different from the one Japan’s public broadcaster NHK conducted for three days from March 6, where 45% of the respondents said Olympics should not go ahead as planned. Public opposition to the Olympics has largely grown in Japan in the past week.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday expressed his determination to go ahead with the Olympics by saying, “Japan has been doing its best to hold the Games within the year and it will try to host a safe and secure the Olympic Games.” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, however, said in a recent interview that the IOC will follow the World Health Organization’s advice on Olympics cancellation. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday holding the Olympics a year later is a better alternative than doing it with no crowd.

The International Olympic Committee is planning to have a conference call on Tuesday with the International Sports Federations to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. An IOC official said the meeting is to share the information concerning the current situation with the IFs, the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and athletes, adding the IOC will answer to the questions asked by the NOCs with respect to the responses to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Home City Contract signed by the IOC, the city of Tokyo, and the Japanese Olympic Committee states that the IOC has the right to terminate the contract if it has “reasonable grounds to believe, in its sole discretion, that the safety of participants in the games would be seriously threatened or jeopardized for any reason whatsoever.”

“There is no mention of postponement in the Home City Contract,” said Yoon Kang-ro, director of the International Sport Diplomacy Institute. “The Olympics can only be canceled in principle, but unusual decisions could be made given the special circumstances. The IOC has kept saying it will follow the WHO’s advice but Tuesday’s conference call could be an inflection point.”

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