Will The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Be Canceled?

The International Olympic Committee is consulting with the World Health Organization to determine if the Olympics should be canceled.

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The 2020 Summer Olympics are supposed to take place in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, but because of Japan’s proximity to China and the coronavirus outbreak, the question on everyone’s mind is: will the Olympic Games be canceled? The Olympic Games are a mega-event in sports, and canceling the games would be unprecedented. The first modern games were held in Athens in 1896, and the event has never been canceled unless in times of war. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil were held as planned despite the Zika virus outbreak. Besides cancellation, there are also talks about the possible postponement. At the beginning of February, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated that the event planning and organizing will proceed and that they are not considering to postpone the Games.  

Volunteer Training Postponed 

So far, the training of volunteers for Tokyo 2020 has been postponed. The rugby tournament, Asia Sevens, was supposed to be held in Tokyo next month as the test event for the Olympics, but it was canceled. Several other sporting events in Japan have recently been canceled. Only elite runners could participate in the Tokyo marathon while J-League matches have been suspended. Maybe the most worrisome is the fact that the organizers decided to postpone the torch relay, which was supposed to happen in Greece next week. Following that, Japan’s Olympic minister raised public concern by saying the contract between Tokyo and the IOC allows Japan to postpone the Games until later this year.   

High Cost of the Olympics

So far, the cost of the Games for the Japanese government is close to $13 billion USD. The organization of the Olympics is also related to Japan’s legislative system. Due to the possible coronavirus outbreak, the government passed the bill which enables Japan’s prime minister to declare a state of emergency if needed. Following the bill, governors throughout Japan will have the ability to close any facility where large groups of people gather. Some experts believe that it would be very difficult to ensure everyone’s health during the Olympic Games. Tens of thousands of people would gather over fifteen days and the Olympic Village houses more than 11,000 athletes, trainers, and volunteers.

IOC Working with WHO

The IOC continues to consult with the World Health Organization (WHO). Many suggest that in the case of a more severe outbreak, the Olympics can be postponed or even relocated. But the IOC’s statement is clear: there are no talks about the postponement. According to the IOC, postponing an event of this scale may be impossible. Relocating is out of the question as well. There are only a few other places that could host the event and develop their facilities in such a short time.

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Ivan loves writing, music, audio production, and social sciences. He lives by the words of one famous sociologist who said that "sociology is a martial art". When he's not writing, he enjoys playing his Stratocaster and video games.

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