TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo 2020 board member Haruyuki Takahashi has said a further delay to the already-postponed Olympics should be considered instead of canceling the event if the COVID-19 pandemic does not improve, Japanese daily Nikkan Sports reported on Tuesday.
The Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee made the unprecedented decision in March to postpone the Games, originally due to start next month, until 2021.
IOC President Thomas Bach has said the Games would have to be scrapped if the event cannot be held next year but Takahashi said cancelling them would have major financial implications.
“Japan and the world economy will be severely hit,” Nikkan Sports quoted him as saying, adding that another postponement should be considered before cancellation.
Tokyo 2020 was not immediately available to comment on the report.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said during the organising committee’s executive board meeting on Friday that cancelling the Games had not been discussed with the IOC.
With the Beijing Winter Olympics and soccer World Cup to be staged in 2022, delaying the Tokyo Games further would cause greater scheduling issues and conflicts.
Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu Inc, made headlines in March when a Reuters investigation found that he was paid $8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Rutherford)