The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19.
The Olympic Games were due to run from 24 July-9 August, but have faced increasing scrutiny to postpone after Canada pulled out citing the threat of the disease. The new date for the Games will be “no later than summer 2021,” although the exact date has not been set.
Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: “I proposed to postpone for a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement.”
In a joint statement, the organisers of Tokyo 2020 and the IOC said: “The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.
“There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
This is the first time in history the Olympics have been postponed – although they were cancelled in 1914, 1940 and 1944 during the two World Wars.
The event will keep its Tokyo 2020 branding when it takes place in 2021.
As of 23 March Japan had recorded 37 deaths and 1,055 coronavirus cases.