A number of options on postponing the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo is still being hammered out, Reuters cited several unnamed Japanese officials as saying on Sunday.
“Finally, we have been asked to make a simulation in case of a postponement”, one official claimed.
Another source asserted that the organisers are allegedly making “alternative plans – plan B, C, D – looking at different postponement timeframes”, and that it includes cost estimates for delays of up to two years.
The officials argued that the postponement scenarios stipulate scaling back the Tokyo Games or holding them without spectators, something that they said would allegedly be debated by the event’s organising committee in late March.
One of the sources specifically called for an early announcement of the postponement, adding, “the more they push the decision away […] more and more preparations have to be made – this will cause cancellation fees to go through the roof”. The source also predicted that a possible long delay may prompt complaints from older athletes.
The claims come after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe underscored last week that the country was preparing for the games in line with its initial plans, which envisage that the event will be held in Tokyo from 24 July to 9 August.
The Olympics 2020 flame arrives in Japan to a scaled-down welcoming ceremony but doubts grow over whether the Tokyo Games will go ahead in July despite the #coronavirus pandemic pic.twitter.com/r2bCblWj5t— Channel 3 Sports (@3Sports_Za) March 20, 2020
The statement was made as Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee chief Yoshiro Mori, for his part, confirmed that “cancellation or postponement of the […] Games has not been considered” over the coronavirus pandemic.
According to him, the organisers will “work with the government and respond calmly” to any problems related to the outbreak.
At the same time, organising committee board member Haruyuki Takahashi told The Wall Street Journal last week that the 2020 Summer Olympics may be postponed for one or two years over the COVID-19 outbreak, but not cancelled.
The new strain of coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December and has since spread to scores of other countries. Japan has registered more than 990 confirmed cases of the COVID-19, with the death toll currently standing at 35, according to the World Health Organisation.