TOKYO, Japan, Mar 29 – Tokyo Olympics organisers are eyeing next July as a start date for the postponed Games, Japanese media reported Sunday, following the historic decision to delay the event due to the coronavirus.
Given the ongoing pandemic and need for preparation time, the most likely plan would be for the Games to begin on July 23, 2021, public broadcaster NHK said, citing sources within the organising panel.
It came after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike raised the idea on Friday of moving the event to a less hot and humid time of year.
She argued that this would make marathons and other races easier to endure, meaning they could be held in the capital instead of in northern Sapporo city, where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had decided to move them.
The Tokyo 2020 team led by Yoshiro Mori is currently discussing possible dates with the IOC, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
On Saturday, Mori told a Japanese TV station that “some kind of conclusion” would be reached within a week.
The Olympics were scheduled to open on July 24 this year with the Paralympics on August 25, but Japan announced last week it had secured agreement from the IOC to postpone the Games — a decision unprecedented in peacetime.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said they would be held in around a year instead as a testament to humanity’s victory over the pandemic.
The decision had been seen to open options for Tokyo, with IOC chief Thomas Bach saying that “all the options are on the table” and rescheduling “is not restricted just to the summer months”.
Meanwhile, NHK said the Olympic flame would be displayed for a month at the J-Village sports complex in Fukushima, which was used as a base camp for thousands of relief workers in radiation protection suits during the 2011 nuclear disaster.