By Owain Flanders
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have announced the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be postponed until the summer of 2021, amid the global COVID-19 outbreak.
The event will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place next year.
A statement on the International Olympic Committee website reads: "The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.
"Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating.
"There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021; to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
The move follows a series of similar major sporting event delays and cancellations around the world, including the postponement of the UEFA European Football Championship until 2021.