TOKYO: International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach has been forced to postpone a visit to Japan, organisers said Monday, after a coronavirus state of emergency was extended less than three months before the Tokyo Games. Bach’s trip was scheduled for May 17-18 but organisers “decided to postpone it based on various situations including the (government’s) extension of a virus state of emergency”. It is just the latest coronavirus disruption for the postponed 2020 Games, which have seen several test events cancelled, postponed or moved. An athletics test event involving more than 400 competitors took place behind closed doors at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday. The Japanese government and Olympic officials insist the virus-postponed Games can go ahead safely this summer, although polls show most Japanese people support cancellation or another delay.
In a statement, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee said it hoped the visit could go ahead “as soon as possible” and would continue to assess the coronavirus situation. Japanese media said organisers planned to reschedule Bach’s visit for June. Japan’s state of emergency, which is less strict than blanket lockdowns in other countries, was last week extended to the end of May in the hardest hit regions, including Tokyo.