The International Olympic Committee said Tuesday that the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games will be held as planned in July despite the spread of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide.
The Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee and the IOC have not wavered despite mounting criticism to postpone or cancel.
"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive," the IOC said in a statement.
Tuesday's announcement came after a meeting with international sports federations on how to move forward as professional sports leagues have suspended play and Olympic qualifying tournaments have been postponed or closed to spectators.
The Olympics are set to begin on July 24 and run through August 9. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe insisted on Saturday that the Olympics will go on as planned after U.S. President Donald Trump floated last week that the Olympics could be postponed for a year instead of being contested without crowds.
The IOC and members of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee have shared conflicting opinions that were quickly clarified or rejected to continue pushing for July's event as scheduled. In late February, Dick Pound, one of many senior members of the IOC, said the fate of the Tokyo Olympics and a decision on whether or not to cancel could be put off until late May. Japan Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto noted Tokyo's contract with the IOC calls for the Olympics to be held within 2020 so it could be interpreted as allowing a postponement.
In early March, International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams said, "We made a decision and the decision is the Games go ahead."
The Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia was held with minimal spectators in attendance, and the relay was initially expected to proceed as planned. However, the remainder of the torch's trek through Greece was suspended after it attracted crowds. The Japanese leg of the torch relay, where the flame is scheduled to be passed along for four months, is still reportedly set to start on March 26.
The IOC is still encouraging athletes to continue preparing for the Olympics as best as they can. No announcement has been made as to how this could impact professional athletes participating in the Olympics when regular season play could resume and possibly overlap with the Summer Games.
More than 800 cases have been reported in Japan with nearly 30 deaths. Among the Japanese cases is Kozo Tashima, a member of the Japanese organizing committee, who tested positive after he experienced a mild fever on Sunday. He recently returned to Japan from a trip to Europe and the United States.
There are more than 182,100 confirmed cases of the virus globally across at least 140 countries.