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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Monday the Tokyo Olympic games will be rescheduled to July 23 – Aug. 8, 2021 and the Paralympic Games will be moved to Aug. 24 – Sept. 5 of 2021. The decision comes after the coronavirus pandemic has continued to increase in the number of reported cases worldwide.

The agreement came via a telephone conference, which included IOC President Thomas Bach, Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshirō, Tokyo Governer Koike Yuriko and Olympic/Paralympic Minister Hashimoto Seiko.

The IOC executive board took three major factors into consideration when delegating the decision to postpone the scheduled 2020 games:

1. To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
3. The global international sports calendar.

IOC President Bach said, “Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel,” shortly after the decision.

The global coronavirus outbreak has suspended the majority of sports worldwide; however, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are the first to provide an expected date for a return.

Tokyo’s Governor Yuriko gave a statement in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak stating, “In consideration of the global coronavirus outbreak, we need a certain timeframe before we fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure for the athletes and spectators.”

IOC President Bach delivered this message to athletes: