Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Right decision to postpone Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Right decision to postpone Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is the right one. If it is not brought under control, the harm done to human society by the pandemic could be more serious and far-reaching than the two world wars. AFP

Right decision to postpone Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The decision on Tuesday by Japan and the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – originally slated to start on July 24 – until next summer because of the novel coronavirus pandemic must have been a hard one to make.

Although the Games have been cancelled – three times in all, in 1916, 1940 and 1944 – due to the two world wars, in the modern Olympics’ history of more than 120 years, never before have any Games been postponed to a different year.

Nonetheless, the decision is the right one. If it is not brought under control, the harm done to human society by the pandemic could be more serious and far-reaching than even the two world wars. Given the number of countries affected and social and economic shock waves that have been caused by the rapid spread of the virus, postponing the Games is the only right and sensible choice to make.

After all, nothing is more important than people’s lives. Postponing the Games not only safeguards the health of athletes, audiences and everyone involved in the Games, it also reduces potential transmission of the virus from one place to another. Even looking at it from only a sporting level, the pandemic has already caused huge disruptions to athletes’ training and the qualification process.

It is undoubtedly a big blow for Japan, which has prepared meticulously for the largest sports event in the world, including renovating and upgrading its infrastructure and sports venues, such as rebuilding Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium at a cost of $1.45 billion. Japan will suffer a huge loss, at least in the short term.

The international community owes a big “thank you” to Japan for all it has done for the Games despite the postponement. That’s why the Games will still be called the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021. The Olympic flame will also remain stored and displayed in Japan.

More important, all members in the Olympic family, guided by the Olympic spirit of respect and understanding, are morally bound to stand behind Japan to go through this most difficult moment in the Games’ history.

As an IOC statement said: “The Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.”

We look forward to having the best Games ever in Tokyo next summer.



  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • Singapore Fintech start-up enters Sihanoukville

    Singapore-based fintech start-up Fincy on Wednesday announced the expansion of its cashless payment system to Sihanoukville to tap into the southwestern coastal city’s ever-widening business and investment landscape. The move is in line with the National Bank of Cambodia’s (NBC’s) recommendations to