TOKYO (Reuters) - Organisers of the postponed Tokyo Summer Olympics have decided not to hold a large scale event marking the one year countdown to the Games because of the coronavirus pandemic, public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday.
Organisers are seeking to cut costs related to the postponement until next year of the Games, which had been due to start next month, and are also conscious of pandemic risks.
“We cannot hold a lively event while the risk of infection continues,” NHK quoted an unnamed organising committee source as saying.
Tokyo 2020 organising committee representatives did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Thursday that organisers were looking at ways to simplify the event itself, although nothing had been decided.
At last year’s countdown event, organisers unveiled the medals at a ceremony attended by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the countdown clock in front of Tokyo Station was launched.
“I can really say that I have never seen any Olympic city being so ready with their preparations one year before the Games as Tokyo already is,” Bach said at the time.
The countdown clock has been reset for the new opening date of July 23, 2021.
The new coronavirus has infected more than 6.5 million people and killed about 386,000 around the world. Japan has reported some 17,000 infections and 900 known deaths to date.
Reporting by Chris Gallagher, additional reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Jane Wardell