After that call, Abe confirmed to reporters in a media briefing that he had agreed with Bach’s suggestion that the Games be delayed until next year, with the Tokyo Olympics now set to be held by the summer of 2021 at the latest.
The decision means the Olympics will be postponed for the first time during peacetime in its 124-year modern history.
“We asked President Bach to consider postponement of about one year to make it possible for athletes to play in the best condition, and to make the event a safe and secure one for spectators,” Abe told reporters.
“President Bach said he is in agreement 100 percent.”
Up until recently, the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organizers were steadfast in their position that the Games would go ahead as planned from June 24, but the continued spread of the coronavirus has prompted national teams and associations to review their position regarding their potential participation in the Games this summer.
The Canadian and Australian Olympic teams have announced they would not send their athletes to Japan if the Games went ahead on the original dates, while the British team expressed similar sentiments.
The opposition to the pre-set July date grew when the national Olympic committees of Brazil, Germany, and Norway all issued statements calling for the Games to be postponed, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump both issued statements confirming they were closely monitoring the situation in Tokyo.