NO plan to reschedule TOKYO Summer Olympics: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

ENDING speculation about  the XXX11 OLYMPIAD to be hosted by Tokyo in the wake of COVID-19, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it clear that there is no question as of now of its cancellation or postponement. At a news conference in the capital of Japan on Saturday, March 14, Abe pledged Japan would host the Games as planned from July 24 to August 9 with the participation over 11,000 athletes from about 206 nations. ‘’We have no intention at the moment to declare a state of emergency over the virus outbreak ‘’ which is fast spreading across the globe. He was asked to react to US President Donald Trump’s reported suggestion that the Japanese capital postpone the multi-national games for a year as the spread of the virus wreaks havoc on the sporting calendar. “We will respond by closely coordinating with officials concerned, including the International Olympic Committee. There is no change in the schedule,” Abe added. “We want to hold the Olympics as planned without any trouble by overcoming the spread of infections,” he said. Organisers, Japanese government officials and the IOC have insisted preparations are on track and there will be no postponement or cancellation. England’s football Premier League, America’s NBA basketball season and the Augusta Masters golf major are just some of the competitions swept aside by the pandemic. On Friday Abe and Trump spoke on the phone about the outbreak and Olympics after Trump proposed a delay. “We agreed that Japan and the US will cooperate and closely coordinate for success in the Olympics,” Abe said, adding they had not discussed any postponement. Meanwhile, The Japanese parliament has approved legislation empowering PM Abe the power to declare a state of emergency to combat COVID-19 but Abe insisted such a declaration was not yet necessary. The coronavirus has infected more than 700 people across Japan and been linked to 21 deaths. Separately, 700 people on board a cruise ship that docked near Tokyo last month were also infected. A state of emergency would allow local governments to require that people stay indoors, schools close and public facilities limit use. Land and buildings could be requisitioned for makeshift hospitals. A host of additional competitions will be an added attraction in the 2020 Summer Olympics. These include 3×3 basketball, freestyle BMX and Madison cycling as well as further mixed events. Under the revised IOC policies, the host organizing committee is entitled to add new games to  the permanent core Olympic events and hence ,in Tokyo karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding will make debut with the return of baseball.(edited by Pranab Kumar Chakravarty).

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