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Tokyo Olympics Could Be Canceled If Not Held in 2021, Says Committee President

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIApril 28, 2020

A woman wearing a mask against the spread of the new coronavirus walks in front of the Japan Olympic Museum building in Tokyo Tuesday, April 21, 2020. An open conflict broke out Tuesday between Tokyo Olympic organizers and the IOC over how much to divulge about who will pay for the unprecedented year-long postponement. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were officially postponed March 24 from their original July 24, 2020 start date to July 23, 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the new date appears to be tentative as well.

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori was asked by Nikkan Sports if the Games would face a second postponement if the coronavirus persists into 2021.

"No," Mori responded (h/t CNN.com). "It will be canceled then. The Olympics were canceled in the past for problems like war. We are fighting against an invisible enemy now."

Yoshitake Yokokura, the president of the Japan Medical Association, told reporters Tuesday it would be "difficult to hold the Olympics" until an effective vaccine emerges:

"I am not saying that (Japan) should or shouldn't host it, but I expect it would be difficult to do so. I want to believe that (the number of) infected people (in Tokyo) is decreasing. But there is not enough testing being conducted in Japan so it's difficult to assess (if the number of cases have fallen). We need to monitor the situation for another week."

Will Ripley @willripleyCNN

#breaking Tokyo Olympics chief says games to be cancelled next summer if coronavirus pandemic is not over. Yoshiro Mori tells Nikkan Sports: "We're fighting against an invisible enemy now." Japanese virus expert Kentaro Iwata is "pessimistic" the postponed Olympics will go ahead. https://t.co/IKkk5Ma6mf

The Olympics had never been postponed before last month's decision. However, the Olympics have been canceled three times in the past because of World War I (1916) and World War II (1940, 1944).

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