Tuesday’s action by the prime minister is the most significant step to date in a cascading series of calls to delay the Games amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“I have made a proposal of about a year,” Abe said. “President Bach said he agreed 100 percent and we agreed to hold the Olympics by summer 2021.”
Abe called Bach on Tuesday night in Japan to offer his plan. The proposal came a day after the United States joined a global chorus of Olympic governing bodies advocating for a postponement, some of which had vowed not to send athletes if the Games began in July as scheduled.
“In light of the current conditions and for all the athletes, we made a proposal of a postponement of about a year, to hold them securely and safely,” Abe said Tuesday.
Postponing the Games would carry massive political, financial and competitive implications. Abe was expected to call on Bach to make a decision on when the Games will be held as soon as possible, NHK reported.
The IOC announced Sunday it would discuss alternative scenarios for the Games, giving itself a four-week time frame to make a decision after publicly conceding the possibility of a postponement for the first time.
Both IOC and Japanese officials have been adamant the Games will not be canceled.