Sat | May 30, 2020

Tokyo Olympic head shoots down comments about delaying games

Published:Wednesday | March 11, 2020 | 9:10 AM
The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee's Toshiro Muto (center left) and Yoshiro Mori (center right) listen to questions from the media during a news conference in Tokyo, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. The Olympic Games are under threat from a spreading virus from China that has reached the pandemic stage. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

TOKYO (AP) — The president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee said Wednesday he has received an apology from an executive board member who said the 2020 Games should be delayed a year to two because of the coronavirus.

Yoshiro Mori called a quick news conference at committee headquarters to shoot down the comments.

“There is no plan now to change our plans,” Mori said, speaking in Japanese.

He was referring to comments form Haruyuki Takahashi reported in the Wall Street Journal.

“I have spoken to Mr. Takahashi and he has apologised,” Mori said.

“He certainly said an outlandish thing.”

Mori said Takahashi was speaking for himself. Takahashi is not involved in the the day-to-day running of the organising committee, which is directed by Mori and CEO Toshiro Muto.

The Tokyo Olympics are being threatened by the spreading coronavirus.

Organisers and the International Olympic Committee have repeatedly said the games will open on July 24 as planned, with the Paralympics opening on August 25.

Any option other than opening on schedule — if the virus allows that — is fraught with problems.

The IOC’s contract with Tokyo gives it almost total control over cancellation without a penalty for breaking contract terms.

It has a reserve fund of about $2 billion to tide it over until the next Olympics, and also carries cancellation insurance.

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