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Olympics: Tokyo 2020 timeline

·3-min read
A general view of the Olympic Rings installed on a floating platform in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - The following is a timeline of major events in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, postponed for a year and set to open in a month:

September 2013: Tokyo is awarded the 2020 Olympics after it convincingly defeated rivals Istanbul and Madrid for the right to stage the Games for the second time after first hosting in 1964.

January 2020: The novel coronavirus outbreak is declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization as fears grow in Japan that the outbreak could threaten the Games.

February 2020: A number of international sporting events, including Olympic qualifying tournaments, are cancelled or postponed.

The deputy director general of the Tokyo 2020 Preparation Bureau at the city government says they have no Plan B for the Games despite alarm over the spread of the virus in Japan and elsewhere with under five months before the event.

March 2020: Despite the organising committee stating earlier in the month that preparations would continuing as planned and the International Olympic Committee saying it would proceed as per the original schedule, the Games are postponed by a year.

January 2021: Japan's government continues with preparations to hold the Games, repeatedly insisting it will hold the event amid the pandemic despite opinion polls showing a majority of respondents want them postponed again or cancelled.

March 2021: The Olympic torch relay kicks off, beginning a four-month countdown to the Olympics, although celebrations are scaled back because of coronavirus measures.

Organisers say international spectators will not be allowed to enter Japan during the Games with a decision on local fans to be made in June.

May 18, 2021: The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association throws its weight behind calls to cancel the Games, saying hospitals are overwhelmed as the country battles a spike in COVID-19 cases.

May 21, 2021: A Reuters survey finds nearly 70% of Japanese firms want the Tokyo Olympics either cancelled or postponed.

May 26, 2021: The White House reaffirms its support for Tokyo's plan to hold the Games and for U.S. athletes competing there despite the issuing of a government advisory against travel to Japan.

May 26, 2021: An essay in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, an official partner of the Games, calls for the Olympics to be cancelled, citing risks to public safety and strains on the medical system.

May 27, 2021: The head of a Japanese doctors' union says holding the Games in Tokyo could lead to the emergence of an "Olympic" coronavirus strain, but a senior International Olympic Committee member says the Games will go on "barring Armageddon".

May 28, 2021: - Japan's Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura says the government is looking to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas by about three weeks.

June 13, 2021: The Group of Seven wealthy nations say, in a communique after a leaders' summit in Cornwall, that they support the holding of the Tokyo Olympics this year.

June 21, 2021: The state of emergency in Tokyo and several other parts of Japan is eased to a "quasi state of emergency".

June 21, 2021: The five parties involved in organising the Olympics agree to allow domestic spectators, up to 50% of the venues and with a cap of 10,000.

June 23, 2021: Tokyo marks a month until the Olympics open.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Additional writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Alison Williams)

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