(CelebrityAccess) — On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee held a joint press conference to announce that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has officially been postponed amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” a joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said.
According to the statement, the rescheduled games will take place in Japan, and will continue to be called the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Organizers for the games have come under increasing pressure to postpone the event in recent weeks, with both Australia and Canada announcing this week that they would not attend if the games were held in 2020. As well, Global Athlete, an international organization that represents many Olympic hopefuls, called on the IOC to postpone the games to allow athletes to focus on their health and recovery from the pandemic.
The postponement is likely a serious blow for Japan, which has made substantial investments in infrastructure for the games. A budget summary released by the IOC late last year showed outlays of $12.6 billion with additional expenses from both national and local governments not included in the reckoning.
Earlier this month, an analysis by SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. projected that the postponement of the games would reduce Japan’s Gross National Product by 1.4 percent.
The postponement of the Olympics will also impact sports organizations worldwide as international governing bodies are forced to realign their schedules to accommodate the rescheduled Olympic Games.
2019 also marks the first time since the Olympic Games have been postponed since World War 2 when Japan was forced to pull out of hosting the 1940 Summer Games. The event was moved to Helsinki but eventually canceled due to the outbreak of the war.