Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Tokyo braces for possible Olympics delay - in pictures

Postponement seems inevitable after Canada and Australia withdraw

The Olympic rings and mascots are visible on billboards and commuter trains, but locals in Japan are convinced the Games won't happen as scheduled.

Following weeks of pressure from athletes and sports associations, the International Olympic Committee acknowledged that postponement is a possibility. On Monday, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said a decision to delay the Games may be "inevitable".

On Monday, the Australian Olympic Committee joined Canada in announcing it could no longer send a team to the Games in July.

Residents of Tokyo are not surprised, with the pandemic having infected more than 325,000 people and killed over 14,000 worldwide.

"There is no way we can hold it," Noriko Shuzui, 75, was quoted as saying by AFP in Tokyo's Ginza district.

"Even if Japan had overcome the virus, if the world hadn't we would receive no athletes, no spectators. No way we can do it."

Japan has so far experienced more than 1,000 infections and 41 deaths but it has not cancelled the Olympic torch ceremonies.

About 69 percent of respondents polled by Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun daily thought it is better to postpone the event.

Shuzui said a postponement seemed necessary under the circumstances.

"The first priority now is to fight the new coronavirus. Everyone was looking forward to [the Games], so it would be sad and disappointing," she said.

"But we've got to take some measures."

Updated: March 23, 2020 03:43 PM

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