New date for Tokyo Olympics likely this week

Published : 14:04, Mar 30, 2020 | Updated : 14:06, Mar 30, 2020

A 3D printed Olympics logo is seen in front of displayed `Tokyo 2021` words in this illustration taken Mar 24, 2020. REUTERSA decision on a new date for Japan's Olympics, postponed because of a coronavirus pandemic, could come as early as this week, the president of the Tokyo organising committee, Yoshiro Mori, said on Monday.

Last week's postponement is a huge blow to Japan, which invested $13 billion in the run-up to the Games, although financial markets were initially cheered by the decision, with some investors having anticipated cancellation.

"We need to swiftly decide on the new date," Mori said at the start of a committee meeting, its first since the historic decision to delay the Games.

Mori added that he expected a call this week from Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympics Committee (IOC), to decide new dates, following two suggestions made by the organising panel last week.

"I would imagine Bach is going to call me this week on this," said Mori, a former Japanese prime minister.

"I think the members also have their opinion. We've got plenty of time to exchange opinions and after that I'd expect everyone to unite and move ahead for the success of the Games in one voice."

The organising committee held several calls with the IOC over the last week to discuss benefits and drawbacks of Games held next year, either in spring or summer, he added.

On Sunday, citing unidentified sources, public broadcaster NHK said the opening ceremony of the delayed Games was most likely to be on July 23 next year, and the closing ceremony on Aug. 8, each a calendar day earlier than the 2020 schedule.

The postponement is the first in the 124-year history of the modern Olympics, although several, including the 1940 Tokyo Games, were cancelled due to war.