A Japanese Olympics minister has admitted that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics may have to be postponed, reports The Independent. The news comes less than a day after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told ABC News that they “have never discussed canceling the Games.”
But cancelation is one thing, postponement is another. While that IOC may not have discussed changing the dates of the 2020 Olympics, Japan’s government has. Responding to a question from Japan’s parliament, the country’s Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto said that under the terms of Japan’s contract with the IOC, the games could be rescheduled:
The contract calls for the games to be held within 2020. That could be interpreted as allowing a postponement.
The rescheduling of the Olympics would represent the largest disruption the coronavirus has had on a public event yet. But as countries are already banning large gatherings in public spaces and the coronavirus continues to spread, it’s looking more likely Japan’s government is increasingly considering the possibility of canceling the largest and most prestigious sporting event in the world in the name of public health.