‘Inappropriate’: Tokyo mayor rejects idea of moving 2020 Olympics to London amid coronavirus scare

“While the coronavirus has become a global topic, it is inappropriate to make statements on the issue in a [London] mayoral election,” Yuriko Koike told reporters on Friday.

Koike’s words were a rebuke aimed at Shaun Bailey, the Conservative Party’s candidate for Mayor of London, who urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to “seriously consider” moving the 2020 Summer Olympics from Tokyo to the British capital due to “the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.”

Japan has reported over 700 cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. These include the outbreak aboard cruise ship Diamond Princess – currently quarantined in the Port of Yokohama – which saw 621 passengers test positive for the disease.

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The country had to cancel, postpone or scale down several major events. Among the cancelled events was a Paralympic promotion in Tokyo on February 24, which was set to bring in 20,000 visitors. Koike said that the measure will help in “preventing the spread of the infection.”

The city also barred amateur runners from the 2020 Tokyo Marathon on March 1, reducing the number of participants from 38,000 to just 200.

The 2020 Summer Olympics are set to open on July 24 and close on August 9.

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