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Olympics: Tokyo organizers set up task force to tackle postponement

In this March 24, 2020 photo, Yoshiro Mori, left, president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, holds a press conference announcing the cancellation of the Japan leg of the Tokyo Olympic torch relay. Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto can be seen on the right. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics established a task force to deal with the postponement of the Summer Games due to the coronavirus pandemic and held its first meeting on Thursday.

    "From now we take on an unprecedented challenge," organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori told some 30 members of the group confronted with the daunting task of reworking the preparations of the last six years.

    Two days after the decision to postpone the games for the first time in history was announced, organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said organizers are facing a "contest of time" and hoped a new timeframe would soon be fixed for the Olympics, originally scheduled from July 24 to Aug. 9.

    "There are many things that can't proceed if the new hosting period is not decided quickly," Muto said.

    Department heads of the various organizing arms, such as transportation, security and event management, formed the core of the task force present at the meeting.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach agreed Tuesday to delay the games until no later than the summer of 2021 as the world continues to struggle with the coronavirus outbreak.

    Bach has said the games could take place before next summer, however, to fit inside the crowded international sports schedule, largely fixed over the next year.

    The Tokyo organizing committee was first established in early 2014 after the Japanese capital won the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympics in September of the previous year.

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