The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) say they will not send athletes to compete in Tokyo if the Games — set to begin July 24 — go ahead as scheduled.
Backed by the Athletes’ Commissions, National Sport Organizations and the Government of Canada, the COC and CPC say they “made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020.”
See full Canadian statement here
Canada became the first major country to withdraw.
Shortly afterwards, the Australian Olympic committee also unanimously agreed that the its team couldn’t be assembled with the virus continuing to spread around the planet.
Their announcement came shortly after the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, admitted for the first time that the games could be postponed.
Meanwhile, the Australian team has said it was “clear” the games could not go ahead, and told its athletes to prepare for a 2021 games.
The games are due to begin on 24 July.
For weeks, Japanese officials have said the games will go ahead as planned.
But, speaking in parliament on Monday, Mr Abe admitted for the first time that Tokyo 2020 may have to be delayed.
“If it is difficult to hold (the games) in a complete way, a decision of postponement would be unavoidable as we think the athletes’ safety is paramount,” he said.
But he insisted the games would not be cancelled altogether.
The Olympics have never been postponed or cancelled in peacetime. The 1940 Olympics – which were called off because of World War Two – were due to be held in Tokyo.