At a White House news conference on the morning of March 19, US President Donald Trump reportedly said that Japanese leaders are yet to take a call on the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics amid the recent coronavirus outbreak.
According to the reports, Trump mentioned that he has discussed the matter with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a conference call and told the media that it is a tough decision for him and a tough situation for all to handle. The US President added that the Japanese PM has not made a decision as to what to do.
#PMOPressConf: CCS Suga briefed on the telephone talks between PM Abe and President Trump, and reiterated Japan's intension to host the Olympic and Paralympic games as scheduled. He also commented on the impact of #COVID19 on economy. https://t.co/oNCjbQtm8y— PM's Office of Japan (@JPN_PMO) March 13, 2020
According to reports, the US President's comments came hours after a scaled-down event was held at Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, where only a selected number of people were permitted to watch Greek officials hand the Olympic flame to Tokyo 2020 organizing committee in a traditional ceremony.
Spyros Capralos, president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee reportedly said that he wishes to believe that the journey of the Olympic flame will offer joy and hope to the people of the world who are currently in pain and challenged.
As the spectators were barred from the venue, Japan sent a limited delegation headed by former Olympic swimmer Naoko Imoto. As per the reports, a chartered flight carrying the flame subsequently left for Tokyo. It is a matter of debate if the International Olympic Committee should postpone or cancel the Summer Games, set for July 24 through August 9 this year.
As per the reports, Regional Olympic organizations from Europe, Africa and elsewhere have shown their support for proceeding as planned. On the other hand, Sir Matthew Pinsent, a four-time Olympic champion in rowing from Britain, offered a different opinion.