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Abe explained Olympics postponement to Trump

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    Reuters

Tokyo, Japan   /   Wed, March 25, 2020   /   10:12 am
Abe explained Olympics postponement to Trump Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) reacts during a budget committee session of the upper house at parliament on January 30, 2020. - Three Japanese evacuated from the epicentre of a deadly new coronavirus outbreak have tested positive for the illness, the government said January 30 as it faced criticism for the country's minimal quarantine procedures. (AFP/Kazuhiro NOGI)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explained the Tokyo 2020 Olympics delay to U.S. President Donald Trump and proposed to maintain close cooperation in a phone call between the leaders, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday.

Trump responded by saying the postponement was a very hard, but wonderful decision, Suga said.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said on Monday the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo should be postponed, in the latest setback to the Games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The news follows Canada's announcement on Sunday that it would not send it athletes to the July 24-Aug. 9 Games due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The IOC has come under increasing pressure in recent days to postpone the Games, scheduled to start on July 24, with 1.7 billion people across the planet in lockdown to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Training has become impossible for many athletes and exposes them to the risk of contracting or spreading the disease. Competitions and qualifiers have been scrapped, while international travel is severely limited.