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30 March 2020, 17:06

New dates for Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics announced

Photo by Xinhua-BelTA
Photo by Xinhua-BelTA

MINSK, 30 March (BelTA) – The opening of the Tokyo Olympics is scheduled for 23 July 2021, with the Paralympic Games to kick off on 24 August 2021, TASS cited Japan's NHK.

According to the TV channel, the decision was reached between the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan.

The agreement to postpone the Games to 2021 due to the coronavirus was reached during a telephone conversation of President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Yoshiro Mori on 24 March. The parties came to the understanding that the postponement was the most appropriate response to the global disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The competitions were to be held from 24 July to 9 August 2020.

The IOC had long been against postponing the 2020 Olympics, largely because of huge financial losses. The biggest damage has been caused to Japan, a country which, according to the most conservative estimates, has already spent more than $12 billion on the Olympics preparations. Experts estimate that the postponement of the Games may cost advertisers more than $1 billion. The losses of the National Olympic Committees and the participating countries have yet to be calculated.

The outbreak of a coronavirus was recorded in Central China in late 2019. It later spread to 160 countries and was recognized a pandemic by the World Health Organization. According to the latest data, more than 700,000 people worldwide were infected, with more than 30,000 deaths recorded.

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