Tokyo Olympics organisers are eyeing next July as a start date for
the postponed Games, Japanese media reported on 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 23 July 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 24 July this year with the
Paralympics on 25 August, but Japan announced last week it had secured
agreement from the IOC to postpone the Games – a decision unprecedented
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.