Timeline of Tokyo 2020 controversies and setbacks

PA Sport Staff
·3-min read

Yoshiro Mori’s departure as organising committee chief is the latest setback to the beleaguered Tokyo Olympics.

Here the PA news agency looks back at the controversial incidents and setbacks which have blighted the Games as they limp towards their delayed start date.

August 2019: Russia accuses Japan of acting “illegally” after appearing to include some of the disputed Kuril islands on a map of the Torch Relay route on the official Tokyo 2020 website.

October 2019: The IOC announces its plan to relocate the marathon and race-walking events to the northern city of Sapporo due to heat concerns. Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike says she opposes the move and describes it as a “tremendous shock”.

June 2019: Tsunekazu Takeda steps down as president of the Japanese Olympic Committee due to an investigation into an alleged bribery scandal connected to the Tokyo bid to host the Games.

December 2019: Reports in the Japanese media calculate the total spending on the Tokyo Olympics has rocketed to over £28billion, almost four times the initial £7.3bn estimated at the time of the bid.

Japan’s deputy prime minister Taro Aso said the Olympics were cursed every 40 years
Japan’s deputy prime minister Taro Aso said the Olympics were cursed every 40 years (Tim P. Whitby/PA)

March 2020: Japan’s deputy prime minister Taro Aso says the Olympic Games are “cursed” once every 40 years, pointing to the cancellation of the Games in 1940 due to the second world war, and the boycott of the 1980 event in Moscow.

March 2020: Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach announce their decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics by a year due to the worldwide surge in coronavirus cases.

December 2020: Figures released by the Tokyo organising committee reveal the additional cost of postponing the Games to be as much as £2.8bn.

January 2021: As the wider Tokyo region is plunged into a state of emergency due to the pandemic and a local poll suggests up to 80 per cent of people in Japan believe the Games should be postponed or cancelled, officials are forced to vehemently deny reports that members of the country’s ruling coalition have determined that the Tokyo Games are “doomed”.

February 2021: Tokyo organising committee chief Yoshiro Mori is forced to resign from his position following a backlash to sexist comments he reportedly made during a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee.