Postponement of Olympics should be considered says Japan Olympic Committee president

SHOWS:

TOKYO, JAPAN (MARCH 23, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. PRESIDENT OF JAPANESE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, YASUHIRO YAMASHITA, ARRIVING AT NEWS BRIEFING

2. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) PRESIDENT OF JAPANESE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, YASUHIRO YAMASHITA, SAYING:

"From an athlete's point of view of safety and security, I think we cannot help but to consider postponement. There is still a possibility for it to be held as planned, but I think we have to consider various options."

3. NEWS BRIEFING IN PROGRESS

4. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) PRESIDENT OF JAPANESE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, YASUHIRO YAMASHITA, SAYING:

"I think there will be difficulties. I think the postponing period shouldn't be long when we think about the athletes and the Olympic village."

5. YAMASHITA LISTENING TO QUESTION

6. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) PRESIDENT OF JAPANESE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, YASUHIRO YAMASHITA, SAYING:

"I was shocked when I heard about it (postponement being considered). It's not an easy thing."

7. YAMASHITA LISTENING TO QUESTION

8. YAMASHITA LEAVING NEWS BRIEFING

TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - MARCH 1, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

9. OLYMPIC RINGS OUTSIDE NATIONAL STADIUM WHICH WILL HOLD OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONIES OF TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES

10. EXTERIOR OF NATIONAL STADIUM

TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - DECEMBER 15, 2019) (FOREIGN POOL - ACCESS ALL)

11. INTERIORS OF NATIONAL STADIUM

12. SEATS INSIDE OF STADIUM

STORY: The head of the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) said on Monday (May 23) he had to consider postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics among his options, amid increasing calls from committees around the world to delay the Games due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"From an athlete's point of view of safety and security, I think we cannot help but to consider postponement. There is still a possibility for it to be held as planned, but I think we have to consider various options," JOC President Yasuhiro Yamashita told reporters on Monday.

However, he said too long a delay would be a burden to athletes given the possibility of having to qualify again, for example.

Major sporting nations Australia and Canada quit the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Monday as organisers faced global pressure to postpone the Games for the first time in their 124-year modern history.

Putting back the July 24-Aug. 9 event, as is looking inevitable, would be a massive blow for host Japan which has pumped in more than $12 billion of investment in the run-up.

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Akiko Okamoto, Hideto Sakai, Joseph Campbell, Travis Teo)