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Tokyo organisers quietly plan for potential Olympic delay, sources say

While the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted sports events around the world, Japan has been steadfast in saying that the Games will go on. The top government spokesman on Wednesday said Tokyo wasn't preparing for postponement.

Reuters|
Last Updated: Mar 22, 2020, 12.58 PM IST
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Neither Tokyo 2020 organisers nor the International Olympic Committee (IOC) immediately responded to a request for comment. The government of Japan could not be reached for comment.
Tokyo 2020 organisers have started drafting possible alternatives to holding the Olympics this summer, two sources familiar with the talks said, in contrast to the Japanese government's stance that postponement is not an option.

While the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted sports events around the world, Japan has been steadfast in saying that the Games will go on. The top government spokesman on Wednesday said Tokyo wasn't preparing for postponement.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has staked his legacy as Japan's longest-serving premier on the Games and is hoping for a boom in tourism and consumer spending. At risk is more than $3 billion in domestic sponsorship, an Olympic record, and some $12 billion spent on preparations.

"Finally, we have been asked to make a simulation in case of a postponement," said one of the sources, an official close to the organising committee who is involved in drafting the scenarios.

Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

"We are making alternative plans - plan B, C, D - looking at different postponement time-frames," said the official, adding the scenarios included cost estimates for different delays.

Neither Tokyo 2020 organisers nor the International Olympic Committee (IOC) immediately responded to a request for comment. The government of Japan could not be reached for comment.

The options, which include scaling back the Games or holding them without spectators, would be debated by the organising committee at the end of March, the official said.

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