On March 24, 2020, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the Summer Olympics, originally scheduled to take place in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, would be delayed until the summer of 2021. The decision came after an outcry from a number of athletes and sporting organizations who expressed concerns about traveling to Japan as the world battles the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to concerns over large crowds that would be conducive to the spread of the virus, athletes and organizations have cited the enormous disruption in their training, doping control regimes, and qualifications processes as their reasons for pushing for the postponement.
In terms of the effects of the postponement on Japan and its economy, predictions are mixed. Some analysts have predicted that the postponement is very likely to plunge Japan into a recession, as it could exacerbate the ripple effect that the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to have on the country’s consumption, tourism, and exports. Others have called the postponement the right move, as much of the economic impact of hosting the Olympic Games comes from development in the years leading up to the games, and those impacts are already reflected in past GDP data. Therefore, although the decision to postpone the games has been widely hailed as the right decision, the economic impact of the postponement on Japan remains to be seen.