Japan’s Olympics minister said on Tuesday (March 3) that Tokyo’s contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allows it to postpone the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Games until the end of the year, over concerns that the Covid-19 outbreak would cause the IOC to cancel the competition.
“The contract calls for the Games to be held within 2020. That could be interpreted as allowing a postponement,” Seiko Hashimoto told parliament, according to Channel NewsAsia.
“We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned,” she added.
Under the hosting agreement, the right to cancel the Games belongs to the IOC. Last week, IOC president Thomas Bach doubled down on his stance that the Tokyo Olympics will go on as scheduled in July, despite the ongoing Covid-19 threat.
Hashimoto said Japan’s government and Tokyo were still committed to hosting the sporting event.
Japan risks losing billions if the Games get canned over Covid-19 fears.
The latest budget is 1.35 trillion yen (US$12.51 billion), with Japan’s government providing 120 billion yen to build the Olympic Stadium and 30 billion yen toward the cost of the 2020 Paralympics, the report quoted Hashimoto as saying.
Japan’s Board of Audit put government spending between the bid in 2013 and 2018 at 1.06 trillion yen.