Publish: 25 Mar 2020, 04:34 pm
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until next year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
The event, due to begin on 24 July, will now take place "no later than summer 2021".
"I proposed to postpone for a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement," said Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister.
The event will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.
In a joint statement, the organizers of Tokyo 2020 and the IOC said: "The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.
"On Monday, the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the Covid-19 pandemic is 'accelerating'.
"There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today [Tuesday], the IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community."
While the Games is the biggest sporting event to be affected by the pandemic, there has been a huge impact on a host of other major tournaments and sports.
On 22 January, Olympic qualifying events in boxing and women's football that were due to be held in Wuhan, China - the center of the coronavirus outbreak - became the first to be moved or postponed.
There have now been almost 400,000 recorded cases of the virus worldwide, with the number of deaths approaching 17,000.