Japan's contract allows postponing of Olympic Games to end of year, says minister

Potential disruption to this summers' Olympic Games in Tokyo amid concerns over the coronavirus continues to be discussed in Japan, with lawmakers examining the terms of the contract with the International Olympic Committee.

The current terms state that a postponement can be allowed to the end of the year, with Japan's Olympics minister saying on Tuesday (March 3) they are looking at various possibilities.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE OLYMPICS MINISTER, SEIKO HASHIMOTO, SAYING:

"It (Tokyo's Olympic 2020's host city contract) only says 'if the Games are not to be held within 2020 (IOC has a right to cancel the Games)'. It depends on how this is interpreted, but it can be read as allowing a postponement within 2020."

However, Japan's government and host city were still committed to hosting the Games, due to begin on July 24, and under the hosting agreement, it was still made clear the right to cancel the Games belongs to the IOC.

Head of that organization Thomas Bach stressed on Tuesday (March 3) that preparations were still underway for a "successful" Games in Tokyo.

(SOUNDBITE) IOC PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH ARRIVING, AND SAYING

"We are all healthy and looking forward to the meeting"

Any halt to the Games would be costly.

The latest budget is $12.5 billion dollars, with Japan's government already providing funds to build the Olympic Stadium and contributing toward the cost of the 2020 Paralympics.

To curb spread of the virus, Japan's government has asked schools to close and encouraged the curtailment of events, including sports meetings, that could attract large crowds, including last weeks Tokyo marathon.

Japan Para Sports Association and Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic organizers said on Tuesday they would cancel a wheelchair rugby test event this month.