Tokyo Olympics: Games can be pushed to end of 2020 amid coronavirus outbreak, Japan's Olympic minister says

The coronavirus has raised questions as to whether the 2020 Olympics will take place as originally scheduled. On Tuesday, Japan Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto clarified that the event's contract states that the Olympics need to be held at some point during the 2020 calendar year. The contract does not state that the games need to take place during specific weeks or months.

"The IOC has the right to cancel the games only if they are not held during 2020," Hashimoto told parliament on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. "This can be interpreted to mean the games can be postponed as long as they are held during the calendar year."

The IOC also issued a statement on Tuesday saying that they have the "full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, taking place from July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020."

"The IOC (board) encourages all athletes to continue to prepare (for the games)," the IOC noted.

IOC President Thomas Bach and Olympic organizers sticking to the notion that the games will go on as scheduled. However, there have been others member of the committee that have suggested cancelling or moving the Olympics is a possibility.

IOC member Dick Pound said last week that a decision on the Olympics will come as late as May. The games are still four months away, so the committee does have a significant amount of time before reaching a decision. Meanwhile, the coronavirus has already been linked to 12 deaths in Japan while schools have cancelled classes and other sporting events have been postponed in the country. According to CBS News, the respiratory disease has been linked to 70 countries with 90,000 cases and 3,100 deaths.

As coronavirus spreads across the globe, sports leagues -- as well as organizers besides those for the Olympics -- have taken notice. Click here to see how the outbreak is affecting sports around the world.

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