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  • Aimee Lewis

With society shutting down will Tokyo 2020 go ahead?


(CNN)As Covid-19 spreads with alacrity around the world, billion-dollar sports leagues have been brought to a halt.

Thursday in the US was one of the most extraordinary in the country's sports history as the NBA, the WNBA and the much-anticipated NCAA's men's and women's basketball tournaments were among the major events suspended or postponed.

Competitions once regarded as shatterproof have been affected. The English Premier League, often described as the world's richest soccer league, on Friday announced a suspension.

But the Olympic Games, the biggest sporting spectacle of all, is still set to go ahead, which begs the question: with society shutting down as a result of a worldwide pandemic, will the Olympics really be held in Tokyo this summer?

What has been said?

On Saturday, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Olympics will go ahead, while the day before Japan's Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto had dismissed suggestions that Tokyo 2020 should be postponed.

Responding to comments made by US President Donald Trump, who had suggested the Games should be rescheduled, Hashimoto said neither the local organizing committee or the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had considered postponing or canceling the Games.

"We continue to proceed preparations to hold a safe and secure Games that will open on July 24," said Hashimoto.

On March 12, the day the Olympic torch was lit in ancient Olympia without spectators because of ongoing concerns over COVID-19, the IOC said it was "fully committed" to holding the Games, set to run from July 24 to August 9, in Tokyo.

"Nineteen weeks before the opening ceremony of the Games we are strengthened in our commitment by many organizations around the world taking significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus," Thomas Bach, the IOC president, said.

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