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2020 Olympic Games Postponed Due To Coronavirus, Japanese Prime Minister Says

The International Olympic Committee and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo out of concern for the spread of coronavirus, Abe said Tuesday. 

IOC President Thomas Bach is “100%” in agreement with delaying the Olympics by up a year, and the games will be held in the summer of 2021 at the latest, Abe said.

The 2020 Olympic Games were scheduled to begin July 22 in Japan. In early March, officials from the World Health Organization met with medical officials representing various Olympic sports leagues to discuss worst-case scenarios as countries across the world encouraged “social distancing” to stem the spread of coronavirus. 

Bach said in March the organization hadn’t discussed postponing or canceling the games when it convened for two days of executive board meetings in Lausanne, Switzerland, but public health officials continue to urge against hosting large-scale events as the threat of coronavirus remains.

Previously, Japan’s Olympic minister, Seiko Hashimoto, said a contract between the Japan Olympic Committee, the City of Tokyo and the IOC allowed the games to be postponed to a later date in 2020. The IOC’s “host city” contract also gave the organization the right to cancel the Olympics outright in the event of war or other forms of civil unrest, or if it believes “the safety of participants in the Games would be seriously threatened or jeopardized for any reason whatsoever.”

The Olympic Games have only been canceled three times since 1896, the beginning of their modern history. The 1916 Summer Olympic Games were canceled due to World War I, and the 1940 and 1944 Olympic Games were canceled due to World War II.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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