2020 Tokyo Olympics Should Be Postponed, Says Japanese Olympic Committee Member

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IMarch 20, 2020

The Olympic Rings logo is pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on March 18, 2020, as doubts increase over whether Tokyo can safely host the summer Games amid the spread of the COVID-19. - Olympic chiefs acknowledged on March 18, 2020 there was no
FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) released a lengthy statement on Tuesday that, in part, detailed it "remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020" despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Kaori Yamaguchi, a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee, disagrees.

The retired judo athlete told Nikkei Asian Review on Thursday that she feels the IOC "is putting athletes at risk" and believes the 2020 Tokyo Olympics should be postponed.

"As far as I can tell from news reports coming out of the U.S. and Europe, I don't think the situation allows for athletes to continue training as usual," she said, later adding, "We should not hold [the Olympics] if people across the world can't enjoy themselves."

The IOC's statement Tuesday further explained that the four months remaining between now and the scheduled start to the Games means "there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage."

Yamaguchi urged the IOC to put a deadline for a decision in place to avoid "a sudden announcement."

The Olympic flame lighting ceremony took place on March 12. The event was closed to spectators for the usually crowded ceremony:

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According to CNN, there are more than 218,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide. Earlier Thursday, officials from China's National Health Commission told reporters that there are no new locally transmitted positive cases for the coronavirus for the first time since the virus was identified.

The Summer Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 24 and last through Aug. 9 in Tokyo.

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